draw a blanket
We sit in the park making up backstories for people and their dogs:
That man owns a sardine cannery in San Francisco,
and his schnauzer is the former mayor of Bloomington, Indiana.
A young woman approaching on a scooter is a con artist
who’s pretending to be in sixth grade but is actually thirty-seven.
The scooter lived a life of crime in the Ukraine.
Everything has a secret side, but I wouldn’t guess Bob over there
(or is it Justinian?) had a full-body overalls tattoo hidden
beneath his overcoat, if it didn’t make you smile.
Well, I trust that’s a genuine smile. Even if we’re both just pretending
to be a plot made of spare moments, the illusion holds up:
We can leap from one premise to another with our unbounded
needs. Heck, there was no butterfly in the last stanza, but here’s
one now. My hand didn’t just slip into your pocket, but it still
could if you want to make a metaphor. For what, we’ll eventually
figure out. Our little words paint chit-chat and sweetness into the void,
which now includes ice cream, this new bench on the other side
of the park, and, like the unsaid oaks in this poem, our love.
I want to jump right to
the good parts with you.
In all obviousness, I could
say I thirst for affection.
Or, I could say something
a little different, like
the Moon is a tuna melt
waiting for us to add some
bread, tuna, and melt.
Pretty weird, huh? I can
turn it on when I need
to. I hope you accept me
even when I’m not as
exciting, even when we’re
in the suburban library
of the soul looking up
how card catalogs worked.
(I think it involved wooden
boxes and nonmagic.)
Over time, our passions
will mute into a comfortable
affection. And isn’t that
what I thirsted for all along?
Well, in a way. But this
is the kind we need.
I stand on a pier at the end of the world.
A minotaur plays a banjo. Threads unravel
from my backpack, which contains a
cornball that isn’t me. If I try to grasp
more than this, it'll all collapse. I might go
to sleep and never touch rock; I might
dedicate a memoir to the sea. Be more
tragic than you already are – this way,
your story will be retold. Why you’d
want that to happen, who knows. But
there might be a jukebox for that. A tomb.
I love this brilliant sky full of predatory
birds, sometimes. I like what it’s done
with this space. Even if I don’t outlive my
song, at least I’ll have sung as someone.
At my best and worst, I was alone.
a mess of this
We were the drab angels
of the upper Midwest,
walking our corndogs
by the night-orange river.
I felt an ache with you;
it had twin brothers.
Your fingers slid into
my corner pocket and
tickled my hidden
keep. Sorry. I’m better
at metaphors when
sober and not testing
my imaginative com-
petence. Call me
or jackass, but I feel
like I could love you.
Call me anything,
just call me, and call
me, and call. This
desperation won’t turn
stale in the morning,
I promise. There is
no dawning. Only blue.
oomo (okayness of missing out)
Although it’s not in my nature to do this, or
most anything, really, I’d like to say thank you
to my body for keeping its cells together. And
to the sky for carving out space that isn’t me,
which in fact (if not opinion) constitutes the
majority of the known through unknown
universes. Not a bad trick to pull, I imagine.
Thank you to the sweat drops I’ve surrendered
on trails. Chance encounters with unnaturally
glossy rocks that turned out to hold keys.
Those are nice. I’m starting to climb out of
the mirthless muck that was and sometimes
still can be the world. I’ll probably have to
remind myself more often that I’m lucky to
be alive: I’m lucky to be alive? I’m lucky to be
alive. Thank you, hands. Thank you, spirit of
the woods, for keeping me company on citified
routes. For now I have a form, a mind, and a
tone, and there’s so much to look forward to.
Evan Link is an illustrator and graphic designer who writes poems, too. His poetry has previously been published inM Review, Radioactive Moat, and Everyday Genius, among others. In addition, one would be unquestionably remiss not to note that Evan has a cat named Rollo, like the candy and the ancient Scandinavian king.