Kate Angus



This Succession of Bad Weather Days Has Become Demoralizing

All afternoon raining and I have been thinking about money
which is lately a thought inseparable

from me as hair and my scalp: you'd need razors, well-honed,
and steady hands. In the movies, rain is pennies from heaven or dimes.

In life, bills. Nobody's singing this. If my body moving
is a table knife through butter

(water-thick air as I walk) or, better, a ship traversing
certain paved seas

(increase speed and my shirttails
and hair billow dark sails), then these damp gray hours

are a wool sweater and the day a terrible mother
who would cover my nose and mouth with it, perhaps as a radical way

to spare me any future bad dreams. I am so tired
and yet I know I am luckier than most. History tells us

it has always been terrible: if you want further knowledge,
read the stories entrails spell on the ground. Profligate, it's true

I'm not better than anyone and so overheat canned tomato soup. Sometimes
there's a pattern like how, yesterday, meeting Marah for coffee, I saw

twin silver star-shaped balloons
caught in a sky of green leaves. And, today, a child's toy whale in the gutter

bobs almost merrily bright blue. Only once in a while I still think
about rearranging the world

so I wake up to listen
as you whisper all your childhood in the down spiral-staircase of my ear.

I don't actually believe any word
will make the earth rise up and protect us. I just want to learn how to peel back

all the plastic wrap, shatter glass, see things so they are clear.



At 3:43 A.M. I Grow Tired of Counting Sheep

I want to curl up
like a comma and hide
in the bottom of a canoe
to ride out

these sparse hours
until morning. Cover
me, let me burrow
beneath. Current

is the night
and also electricity
like hands
on the rubbed raw wire

of what my body tosses
and turns into.
These hours are a shell
like the logo

for a black viscous oil
that says: forgive
anyone who would
ever hurt you.

I know the past
fuels the present
but it just
seems too simple:

that we all siphon off
what we need.



Dear Centennial Future So It Seems

This bottle of New Chapter Organics promises "nourishing
fulfillment of every woman’s needs" which means

I must be a failure as a woman since on almost any given day,
in almost any situation, I feel pudgy, poor, and frustrated

in both sex and art. Perhaps this is the common human condition or else
just a problem inherent in my mind which takes the plastic bag crumpled

on my floor and thinks, "A parachute for Barbie!
A metaphor of a sterile womb!" Instead,

I should consider the rate of decomposition which,
thanks to polythene, is estimated at about 500 years. And so

the bag will contain its freighted gendered images long after
both you and I sink down as wet leaves in the sediment to mingle with the muck.

And yet I am so strangely happy! That I am constantly tuning and retuning the violin
perhaps in an effort to avoid conversation is undeniably true. Also true

I take the easy way out, am too fond
of the superficial and the broken. Case in point: America's Next Top Model

flickering schizophrenic through the static on the screen.
Case in point: the Ipod Nano Red or the unused shredder's

monstrously razored teeth. My identity, the TV tells me, is ripe
for stealing like some sweet peach blossoming near rotten on a Georgia tree. Still,

destroying papers makes me queasy and I have no children,
no legacy as yet. Would my doppleganger speak too long at The Magician,

promising friends films will be funded and lovers won't leave?
Will my other lie still, slick with sweat, on my mat at yoga

and think about smoking even though I have already quit smoking—
would I recognize her, with her chipped nails?

Will she be only diodes containing electrical impulses rushing through internet space,
or a simulacra, mannequin-impassive, typing the code to drain my bank account?

Or heave in insomnia sheets like a beached whale, wondering where she's gone wrong
or wake to croissants and prizes in the pinewood light?

Will she look like me at all? Oh, Future, this is narcissism abundant that I want to touch
her smooth and plastic face, that I want

her to live forever. How can I imagine a future without her,
or a future past you, Future—how is it possible

that there will be a time when we both are dead?




I touch myself; I dream. There are things
I shouldn't tell you, but sometimes I do.
If you live on the other side of the country,
it's like you live on a different planet. There are times
I might imagine a hotel room
where our bed sheets are a flurry
like enormous swans' wings
and two glasses of cool water
form twinned oases or a pair
of clear eyes. The tulips
in the vase on the nightstand
are red like little mouths,
closed as matrons' purses
or rooms we don't go into in our lives.