Spring 2024

Pseudo Abecedarian

By Todd Robinson

All night the ears ring in their broken grooves,
the hollow in which his body cozies itself
a detritus of flaked skin, dreamscapes, actions
too herky-jerk to delineate. Mornings fester
with light at the drapes, promise grown-up
bafflement in the usual portions. Heroic kept
man intelligent enough not to pop the balloon.
Jack-of-no-trades can’t quite master coffee,
kills any class of plant life, loiters over each
decision maze-like with a mind of mud.
NA keeps opioids on the back shelf and each
day he proffers querulous thanks to the cloud
rack. Real milk in the afternoon tea, Stevia
for his floundering middle, gum-line receding,
vivid love-life. Wonder under the locust leaves.
Prescription Xanax?
Yes. Zero chance of quitting
that which makes sky bend.


Beauty sleeps in the king bed where we used to spoon
even in the year of breakage our tutelage in movement
persisted but that was now this is then we’re sexless
six weeks and counting or is it six months I touch her
cheek kiss fingers that once knew my every hollow
it’s too late to walk or talk a long string of chandelier
dust a long slur of starlight the house dim and humming
this pre-elegy
another way of eating
muscle to grow fear.


Last year, Ernst reminded you love is an art like farming
or poetry, gave you his galoshes, died. Now your one
and only sneaks up on his shade, shakes her pill bottles
like maracas, big pharma diluting her green eyes.
Even sleeping, she
snores toward the urn we journey
ceaselessly to fill.

Todd Robinson is the author of the poetry collection Mass for Shut-Ins (Backwaters/University of Nebraska Press, 2018), and his work has appeared in North American Review, The Pinch, A Dozen Nothing, and Notre Dame Review. He is an Assistant Professor in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and caregiver to his partner, a disabled physician. www.toddfather.net

Spring 2024