I'm going to breathe for the total vacation
and hookworm clay roads
going downhill real or imagined.
What remembers less than what it owns?
The countertop I was birthed across,
to believe in something worth enough to forget.
I end each night with some new yank and look out and say
it doesn’t always have to work out or be ready.
The problem increases the fear of promoting the problem.
The problem climbs into an empty snowsuit
so one can ask, and even cry, chip in to the daylight,
touch the closeted quiet morning, most mornings, cold feet.
Another day and you’re reachable.
Another day and you’re the hurricane that sucks bagged groceries
from a roofless car.
There’s a procedure of not knowing what to do
when the time comes.
A label peeled from a salsa jar twice bitten by the red wet mouth
of a sock puppet.
I sometimes drive down a street with my car door open
looking down through the pavement for a water fountain
or a portal into the difference
between intimacy and radical intimacy.
When your bicep came apart, all I could do was gag.
I should never wear a bomber jacket for this reason.
No war. No dry spine. Some pages from your diary are missing.
Jordan Stempleman's recent collections of poetry include Wallop and No, Not Today (Magic Helicopter Press). He co-edits The Continental Review, serves as the faculty editor for Sprung Formal, and curates A Common Sense Reading Series.