You’ll never bring yourself to enjoy the actual
sparrow, only its sound, the idea, its chip,
the pluck to stay when friends migrate.
Julie leaves the coast for the lakes
then stumbles home. You kiss her
cheek looking not to her eyes
but to the long expanse of sea she claimed.
Shades of ocean, countless. Tree-swallow teal,
barista-hair blue with flecks of bleach at the ends.
Also: thrushes, even through the cold months, loves
that come around as friendships.
Another knocking at the window he knows
is yours even with the lights closed
around the house—songs of return
don’t always comfort. Some sing
the boundary of a windowpane, others
use owl howls, unattainable in canopy.
You a faint red halo half-heartedly tracking.
Hold up for him an oak leaf from your limbs,
thicker than paper but full of holes
as you pretend this is about taking a stroll.
The next day you walk in the Audubon park
to the waterline, feeling like a siren, only
no wrecks. It is sunny out, barefoot
the sand stings. Wade into singe again
as you will, as it is written
on the thousand envelopes scattered
across your bed. Are you awake?
Smell the petrichor. Rain is coming,
rain has been. After the noise of thunderstorms,
you wait in your parents’ bed again, listening
for the katydids to tell you: it’s over. It’s okay.
Joey Gould is a poet, produce clerk, & educator living in a town called Hopedale. He is a longstanding contributor to Mass Poetry & Mass Leap efforts, writing for Masspoetry.org, leading workshops for Student Day of Poetry events, & helping to coordinate every Massachusetts Poetry Festival since 2011. You'll probably bump into him if you're headed to a Mass Audubon sanctuary.
my parents have a joint facebook account bc my mom found out my dad was messaging someone name TexasTitties2006 in an online poker game and she lost. her. goddamn. mind and threw the tv down the stairs.
The bridge rumbles as I drive across,
Below me is yesterday's town:
brick crumbling, machinery rusting,
the industrial revolution's terminal ward
by the slow brown river.
my mom got us banned from the swimming pool at the trailer park we lived in because she punched our neighbor in the face for walking to her mailbox to get her mail in sexy lingerie.
New skiff of snow on the roads and lawns
and a full moon above the night’s overcast.
I drive past two neighbors — two older men —
shoveling slush, their sidewalks scraped clean
The ambulance drivers in this town have no clocks
in their homes. Instead, the kitchen tables bear
sandbags and bean cans
and old issues of Playboy.
Iodine adorns the night stand.
the worst thing i ever did was spit on a mcdonald's cheeseburger that my aunt bought for me and threw it at her feet because i was mad my mom kicked me out of the house the week of my birthday for telling my hot english teacher that i had been in foster care.
Their bones keen a brittle dirge
for departed faith in possibility,
legitimacy, carried to rest
on backs bent over.
Imagine planting a garden. Imagine planting a garden of only yellow tulips. You love yellow tulips, the dusky smiles, stems’ green neutrality. Yellow tulips are your favorite. So mild.
His head was an apple
chest proud, deadman's float
while rows of parents looked on
with drowsy interest
His ghost was with me that morning
Wandering round my room
While I tried to write,
Lifting the corners of my laundry,
Making the dust dance in the light.