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