From the series HEARTLESS
Friends forget my birthday. Forget they’re friends.
Betray confidences without giving their names.
Change their names without telling me.
Slice the heads off birds.
Leave headless birds on the doorstep.
And when I’m near,
drop their voices and whisper into the phone.
My heart eats a hole in itself
just big enough to escape through.
It’s a law no one follows.
Even so, they pull me from the line
and quote Kant’s Categorical Imperative
and then laugh at my discomfiture.
One of them looks something like my older brother,
the same brown eyes and ironic manner.
“Just tell what happened in the order it happened,”
my heart blandly advises.
I would, but all I can recall at this distance
is a car honking for me to come out
and the moon being lynched from a lamppost
and not enough light.
Her heart moves in
with my heart.
At dinner she stares down
without appetite at the roses
clotting on the plate.
I ask how her day was.
She shrugs – her heart
languishment and pain
to be subjects
for dinner conversation.
But sometimes it wonders
just what took place
before it got here
that night trembles
under the table,
waiting for scraps.
I had bad teeth in the dream,
just as in real life, but in the dream
I had the long, droopy moustache
of a gunfighter to disguise it.
I walked so slowly up the tree-
lined street I appeared lost.
People had stopped mowing their lawns
or playing with their dogs to watch me.
A few even pointed.
Perhaps they were wondering like me
what was in the grocery bag I was carrying
that the bottom had turned a greasy black,
my heart or someone else’s.