Today's poem is by Erin Belieu
Love is Not an Emergency
More like weather, that is,
or false springthe ambivalence
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
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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