A Yuengling bottle stands sentinel
Inside a rusted Philly Weekly box. A wet page
Wallpapered to one side shows a grinning man,
Wicked gleam in eyes almost illegible.
He’s posed, oiled and flexed, as if on a stage,
Above frozen pizza crust, a crumpled Coke can.
It’s rain, then snow, rain again, the slush black
With exhaust and tar, and the city slides
Evilly through the hard, final assault
Of winter’s long offensive. Spring will be back,
Or so we’re told, though oddly overdue, like tides
Gone out and not come back, and, everywhere, salt.
The seasons glue down, pull off painfully,
Like memories that stay in the eyes from dreams
A moment, mazelike, before they’re rubbed out.
Something is wrong. Something has rudely
Changed around us, or in us, unsewn seams,
Or gorging rain before killing drought.
Maybe you’ve heard about this. Maybe not.
A man came home and chucked his girlfriend’s cat
In the wood chipper. This really happened.
Dinner wasn’t ready on time. A lot
Of other little things went wrong. He spat
On her father, who came out when he learned
About it. He also broke her pinky,
Stole her checks, and got her sister pregnant.
But she stood by him, stood strong, through it all,
Because she loved him. She loved him, you see.
She actually said that, and then she went
And married him. She felt some unique call.
Don’t try to understand what another
Person means by love. Don’t even bother.
Original appearance in American Poetry Review