MICHAEL EARL CRAIG
When it comes right down to it I’m a hopeless romantic.
And you, you are a scheming opportunistic leech.
And Chad is “the orphan.” You follow me?
Or maybe I’m the leech, and Chad is still “the orphan,”
and you’re the doe-eyed dreamer.
Laverne is the dumb country bitch with the Mercury Cougar
and its trunk full of deer meat.
Stu is the pragmatist. The classic pragmatist.
With one foot in the grave and the other at the movies.
Or is it the other way around?
Donald is the quintessential blonde bombshell.
And here is where things for you take a turn for the worse.
You’re out in a meadow. You have your head down.
You look like you’re grazing on something.
Me? I just happen to be there.
I haven’t felt hopeless in a long time.
Stu means well but can’t help anyone.
Something in the way you have your head tilted….
I feel the cables tightening in me.
We won’t return to Laverne.
Donald arrives. He lets his matted hair down
as one might dump out a tarpful of condoms.
And Chad. Well, well, well, let’s take a closer look at Chad.
Upon Our Return
When we walk into the room
(it is late)
the child is there on the floor,
working on the Harry Truman puzzle.
Bubbles Came from Their Noses
He wasn’t supposed to be there.
(This is how any number of poems begins.)
He had his goggles. And his nose plugs.
He was underwater, and pretending
to be fixing a ladder
bolted to the side of the pool.
The participants in
the synchronized swimming workshop
eyed him cautiously.
Each of them had their arms out
like Christ on the cross
and they hovered near the bottom,
but not on the bottom,
and this was what fascinated him.
Many of the swimmers had their palms
turned slightly up, their arms
bent a bit at the elbows,
and this gave them the appearance
of those carefully weighing something,
two things I suppose, perhaps pitting
one thing against another, but in a fair
and emotionless manner, and this
made them seem to him both judgmental
and blasé, which he liked.
There were over two dozen of them.
Their hands pendulated a little.
This trued them.
The colors of the pool
were deep blue and turquoise
with shafts of gold light in spots,
and the swimmers farthest from him
looked ghostly, like faded blueprints
It was calm down there. Serene.
He heard an occasional dull clanking from
he didn’t know where.
Bubbles came from the swimmers’ noses;
they eyed him cautiously.
And then one of them, a chubby one, she
appeared to be the leader…
she made her move.
Her chest was forward, her shoulders back.
She was squinting. Her goggles were clear
and seemed part of her head.
She began to move out ahead of the group.
He sensed a slight buzz in the water.
She reminded him of a seahorse.
She was expressionless.
She moved as if she had a little motor behind her.
She came right at the man,
slowly, and with an eerie purpose.