Poetry

Goodnight Skirt

From Transmitter and Receiver. Published by Nightwood Editions in 2015.

Permission to use that snowball

you’ve been keeping in the freezer

since 1998. For a poem? she asks.

What else? I say. I’ll trade you, she says

for that thing your mom said

at the park. What was it?

“God, that mallard’s being a real douchebag”?

Yes, that one. Deal, I say. Okay, how about

the Korean boy who walks past

our house late at night, singing

“Moon River”? Oh, you can use that, I say,

I wouldn’t even know what

to do with it. But there is something else.

I’ve been wanting to write about

the black skirt we’ve been using to cover

the lovebird’s cage. The goodnight skirt.

In exchange, I’ll let you have

our drunken mailman, the tailless tabby,

and I’ll throw in the broken grandfather clock

we found in the forest. One more, she says.

Last night, I say. The whole night.

She considers for a while, then,

Okay, that’s fair. But I really had something going

with that lovebird. All right, I say, write it

anyway. If it’s more beautiful than mine,

it’s yours.

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Goodnight Skirt

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