She would have had a slow migration of mind
after Paul Verlaine

You gave us a city of industries who hum in the nightmare [my nighttime is white]. The baggage machine keeps slow going / while no one rides through the city / no one rides save the skyline, seeping green from the industry [my city is gasoline]. We never imagined ourselves in the graveyard, our efforts redouble [my effort’s well-oiled] and all around us industry’s plotted. No point to clock in or out—all hours the same! Each morning brings a replacement [my replacement’s named Stacey] and we eat eggs for dinner, go to bed with sharp instruments. The industry never stops. We contemplate the whirr.

Housewives of America

after Max Jacob

Our husbands prayed like, “Pardon us, but there’s a game on.” Is it a crime to strike your children with branches? What if they deserve it? When my baby came out a raisin I thought to myself, “You have been touched by grace and everybody will adore you,” because to be ugly on this earth is to be a necessary object. At the very least, we ladies distill Sundays into lunch on the veranda. Salutations to the dude in the Benz! Then everyone's reduced down to the kind of flowered pants they wore ages 2-9. Mine had death-lilies on them and extreme blotting down by my forest. But they fit me fine. Back then our communities were contained and one day we were dressed down and we were carried to the town square. In unison, all of us cried. The planters were graves. Grandparents kept appearing and, with conciliatory waves, they dumped these animals on us—dogs and parakeets and even a donkey. We couldn't keep calm. We traced all calls for the next week or so, trying to figure out where the grandparents were coming from. No one knew them. Our usual haunts felt haunted. That's the innocence of old people. We give money to our opinions and they grow. The game is believing in the ugly of things.


Laura Wetherington's first book of poetry, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence 2011), was chosen by C.S. Giscombe for the National Poetry Series. She edits and teaches creative writing at Sierra Nevada College.