I have two answers for when people ask
what my poems are about: “suicide”
and “the inadequacy of language
to capture the breadth of human experience,
and also suicide.” If someone fails
to change the subject, I’ll add
that I plan to start writing more about sex.
This is a lie, of course – my poems
already about sex, because: what else?
What good is yet another poem
about the snow in the snowy woods
behind the house where my father grew up –
unless someone is having sex,
possibly in a canvas tent, possibly
my father and mother escaping
their parents – my grandfather
didn’t like my dad from the first date
when he showed up in purple bathrobe
and wild beard. So in summer
they would lie on the moon-scarred dunes
along the Lake Michigan shoreline
and in winter they would zip
their sleeping bags together
in an Army surplus shelter
and seek amnesia in each other’s flesh.
What did they talk about?
It is hard for me to see them
as kids – as flawed, as fallible –
I cannot pretend objectivity,
I am making up these stories
in hopes of discovering something
about myself, as if imagining
the moment of my creation
would explain things – perhaps
would answer a question
I am not wise enough to ask.
This is the opposite of suicide.