I’ve gone into closets not expecting to return.
I’ve tried on hats without hoping one would fit.
I’ve attended schools that gave graduate degrees in malaise.
I’ve majored in philosophy because my bete noir glowed in the night.


Upon reflection, the virtual reality headset is the most famous thing I
Think I might have invented had I thought about it a little harder.
My parents taught me to be ambivalent about ambition, though;
I was supposed to become a success without trying.


Now I pass mirrors without looking and chairs without sitting;
I walk on carpets that shift endlessly under my weight, and
Cover my bathroom walls with quotes from other bathrooms.
Today I’ll buy some elegant frames.
Tomorrow I’ll buy the walls to fit around them.


I’m hoping for a good death.
Nothing’s imminent, yet I still
Worry about my performance.
In my dreams I imagine this: one
Day out of the blue I’ll receive a
Telegram instead of a letter, letting
Me know that I’m living at the wrong
House and watering the wrong grass.
Later, some friends will call to say
They were my enemies all along,
Causing a bitterness to swell within
Me that prompts white, brittle hairs
To sprout from my ears. Then I’ll go
To the ocean to reflect on my life,
Only to find myself reflecting on the
Tides instead, how they’re nothing in
Themselves, but merely secondary
Effects of a gray and listless moon.
When I try to write a few poems
On this theme, though, I’ll give up
When I can’t figure out the endings.
Much later, a person will come and
help me to the bathroom. I’ll thank
Them without remembering who
They are, but we’ll talk about the
Tides, compose a few short letters
To long-dead friends, and – before
Going to bed – pet the strange little
Dog who sleeps at the door every
Night and thinks I’m his master.

It’s the Later Grief

that doesn’t know where to go.
Born as a ghost of itself,
it wanders like animals’ songs
through deepening shadows,
hoping to find an open field
where its howlings can be heard

beneath directionless wind.