I thought when everyone died I would
be released, but
it hasn’t turned out that way at all.
Honey is sweet, but it still takes work
to coax it from the comb.
Love is like that, too, though good luck
convincing it back into the jar
when the stickiness finally gets you down
and no tongue can cut the sludge
that’s left there on the spoon.
Look, you get the cookbook off the shelf,
open it to the page with all the stains,
and work your way down the list—pinch
of this, taste of that. If you run short
on one thing or another, just head
for the pantry and figure something out.
What I want to say is this:
Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota—
each one’s just a pastel patch on the map
with a dotted fence drawn around. If someone
came along and jiggled the draft, well,
that was that—a squiggle for a border
where a straight line might have been.
There’s one spot in this country you can stand
and be in four states all at once.
Scorpions from Arizona run up a sock
and into your pants, and as soon as
you’ve got a handle on that, something else
from Utah starts creeping up your other leg.
After all these years, I still keep
a spare pair of underwear in my bag,
save quarters for the Laundromat, slip
a dime inside my shoe just .in case
I need to make some sort of call.