Today's poem is by Erin Belieu

Love is Not an Emergency

          More like weather, that is,
ubiquitous, true
          or false spring—the ambivalence
we have
          for any picnic—

flies ass-up in the Jell-0,
          the soft bulge of thunderheads.

Right now, the man in the booth
next to me
          at the Nautilus Diner,
                    Madison, New Jersey,

is crying, but looks up
          to order their famous disco fries.

So the world's saddest thing shakes you
          like a Magic 8 Ball;

and before him, the minstrel
          who smeared on love's blackface, rattling
his damage like a tambourine.

I have been the deadest nag
          limping circles round

the paddock, have flown to beady pieces,

sick as the tongue of mercury
          at the thermometer's tip.

But let's admit there's a pleasure, too,
in living as we do,

          like three-strike felons who smile
for the security cameras,

like love's first responders,

stuffing our kits with enhancement
          pills, Zig-Zags, and Powerball cards.

I read: to greet is the cognate for
                    regret, to weep, but welcome
                    our weeping,

because we "grant the name of love
                    to something less than love,"

because we all have to eat.

Copyright © 2014 Erin Belieu All rights reserved
from Slant Six
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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