we hold hands and argue about the best way to put out a fire.

fight fire with fire.
    with water.      fist our hands with snow.      to fight.      to spill the contents of shopping sacks and corners of smiles to break harsh laughter onto slick dark pavement.   drop the book.   forget the page we've both been stuck eating for weeks. for lifetimes. of decades lost. to the sadness.

     we run wicked and wild.

           and fuck the world.

late last night, a man balled himself up in the middle of the street


hey you. i shouted from the screened-in-porch.
do you need some help?

yes, he moans miserable into the asphalt ice and into my ears miles away on the safety of the screened-in-porch.

inside, i phoned the police. but they never came.

and, eventually, he vanished.

do you think it's strange, i say
that aluminum foil speaks to me, sometimes?
no, he says, and smiles at me out of his left eye shining, no, i don't think that's strange at all.

what he she waits his waiting instead of sleeping she
I've been writing you a letter.

after you're gone, i dial the number. steel the phone. face plate against cheek bone to neck stuck. and wait. for the robot voice. to rock. and rock. into the slow static drive of the way silent lines. hum. to crack. the blaze. in the collar bone. and the moan of a not-quite-drunk tongue. until frenums burn and break voicesounds. loose marbles. to crash. the whitewash. of it all. to wail. dumb space. full of rhythm. of your--stop. in my ear. when it's caught.

> some of the letters that spell your name and initials on my
> keyboard are almost completely rubbed off

that imogen
wore her supergirl pants
for no reason

had to cancel an interview

because her hands smelled of pickles


like swelling bellies and not being able to sleep nights. of being sick and sobbing and wretched. and at a loss for words. nights when all i can do is think about setting the table at your brother's house for dinner. and the sharp teeth of kitchen knives. that turn all these ashes up into smiles. that make me realize that all of these many women i have become have always just been this one woman. steady pleased with her discontents and constant residual pursuit of imperfection. that help me, a little bit, to realize that these moments without permeate. mutate. blend time and space and the catch grab seconds in-the-between into something that looks a lot like happiness.

and. that's the way it should be.

because, she said,

god never mentioned aliens.

to which i think i'm pretty sure i said, and thank god for that.

when i was a little girl, my dad used to take me to race electric cars. his motor engine grease smile still sticks in the back of my neck when i smell a buzz of tin pins fast whirring along tracks. of super eights and high boys. mine always flew from the pinions around corners. go go go, i'd squeal at the tires that didn't actually turn. and he'd pick me up and let me run as many times until i was done. i never knew quite when to slow down.

hates christmas.
and thinks that this year is possibly the worst
one she's ever had
on or off record.

i whisper, over the raw sounds in the other room of my mom's voice after a few glasses of wine and the television blaring an old boxing match i think we watched two years ago when i was home and someone broke something else predictable like this news for christmas presents, we're going to have to tell them soon. our smiles graze like hands against my swelling abdomen. and we secret kiss until it's been too long to stand in the room next to where other people are. without the light.

when i think of your naked belly
your exoskeleton writhing between palms and the flannel sheets of some childhood bed
i smile at being such a failure of on-line dating
and feel glad we decided to come home for christmas
this year

words included that probably didn't help the results of my dating profile:




"Squirrels never build starships."
--Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

is search you out in all the cracks of your fault lines.

sorry i missed your call . . .

i was playing video games with ralph . . .


i'm also making a list

of all the people i want your husband and his alpha-male friend
to sock in the head

i've been shaving my legs more for doctors than for boys.

hopefully the new year brings a reversal to this pattern.

it must suck to be a pedestrian on days like this, huh?
he says behind a half-rolled down truck window and a half-cocked smile.

i don't budge. stuck still in the middle of the street and stare.

ahhh, my voice curls lips and smiles.
so it might seem, eyes full penny-arcade strange
but so much better were it to be me,
than you.

today, i took off something i've been wearing, but didn't quite understand, my whole life. and mailed it off. in brown paper wrapping. i thought the moment might have been harder than this. to take flight from. but all suddenly. it wasn't.

just created a folder on the server called
and she is not filling it with chocolate boxes and roses

the exigency of 21 days
inconsistent email messages
being incredibly sick (especially at work)
the british postal service

what can stop me now. no. nothing. can stop me now. cause i'm not afraid. anymore. not this name of my name that you spin out of time. in_complete. not like sold songs for headphones. anymore. not my name of your name when it meant nothing. but the sound of your footsteps on this hard wood floor. coming home nights. that is my floor and your floor. and the memory of dancing with you in the kitchen that is our kitchen. where we've never lived. now. or when i stalk front porches and you sleep waiting for me between sheets. all these sudden moments of cruel. when i wonder if you'd ever want to be happy with me. if you know that you're always there, when you've gone. waiting for me. now. just within the trespass zone. whether or not i decide to click on the light.

i hate you, he says.
and she says i hate you too.
and they don't wring hands or throw keys or shoes or toaster ovens.
they just know what it is.
in all the lies that everyone ever told them about the truth.
about what truth means, really, when you can't stop rocking in your chair or pulling hair or saying your insides out. into ears that hear.
imogen knows that hating you feels like the soft undersides of the true way true words often catch in the back of the throat. found things. precious. like pebbles and stray inconsequential conversations with friends that didn't really mean anything at all.
at the time.
i hate you, she wonders into the stray snow porch lamp light. twisting the truth into the heavy full dreamy taste of black current on the tongue.

that currently there's more electronics in her bed

than anywhere else in the house

maybe it sounds a bit sick. but i really do love the way he eats my mind.

on the snow soup porch my heart starts a bit when i see a saab slow and pass.

then i remember it's been ages ago since she sold that car.

he's devouring this city as if it were thin red jellies and christmas cakes.

when all we really need is a taxi.

and you contemplate the color yellow. the puddle. the banana. wonder if yellow is a thing at all, or if it's just a concept. a generally accepted way of perception. maybe the dog was a puddle all along, but you didn't know the right words to navigate -- to name, to know, to recognize it. or maybe things always ever change. the banana won't be yellow for long. seventeen hours ago, you thought it was all about something else. and now it's just you, the remains of the dog, and the realization that this phallic symbol you've been holding -- that you've been clinging to like some extraordinary link to communication -- can so easily too be altered. peel back the skin. one piece. by one. and by slow dissolving mouthfuls, you've created it into a flower. yeah, you think, still with the sickening taste of the creamy fruit lingering in the mouth, yeah . . .

i keep signing your name over my name. over and over again. every time it ends up different. leaving me noxious stained. indelible.

this morning, imogen realized that she really was going to have to make that doctor's appointment. and soon.

this morning the blind hot-air-balloon man saved my life.
with one simple word.
and i didn't get star struck splayed on morning sparkle asphalt.
instead, i hugged curb sides. tapped toes and fingers and eye lashes and waited for lights to change.
for things he could see.
for things i couldn't.

i put yours with mine and mine with yours and they are the same

but yours for mine is more special
because i get a u
and you don't

i'd email you more often, but my roommate has just left town for two weeks, and he's turned off the internet.

asia doesn't dream of true love or the bottoms of bottles. or other unlimitless uknown things she used to fear. like the unknowable edges of the ocean. or the unmeaning of words. instead, she just pads around her flat in stained slippers. and hums along to unspun made up love songs. in her crazy-could-never-say-it-quite-yet-love-soaked-head. asia dreams of boots and the best fear she's ever known and the limitlessness of the ocean. and using too many esses and f-words and too much sex whenever time presents itself.

asia can't believe you care. and wants to sink skin into headphones until she realizes that it's exactly right, that until now, she didn't know at all what it felt like be alive.

Well, you know how I get when I start watching Buffy. Clearly you must understand. I just couldn't tear myself away!

I know I haven't gone before, but I've been at church.

Yes, that's why you haven't heard from me since Thursday noon.