Civilization, Because

Light I guess

has

always

been secular. And

it’s

not

so much

Indiana’s collapse

as Atlanta’s rising.

At least,

so

far

in Game 2. Beauty

and truth, of

course,

take pains

to name. And

Lady

Gaga

would

have been

a perfect Empress

near the end

of

any

civilization, because

of her intensity

of listless

grace.

Trying Not To Be Attracted

Trying not to be attracted

to the curate’s wife,

Jake reminded

himself

that

blondes

were not his type. “Sure,

I’ll have a cocktail,” he said

to her, hoping she needed no

further information. He returned

to the living room, and the safety

of his wife. The curate was talking

about a new show

on Bravo.

Something Happened

Something happened

to Strength

on

the

way to impatience

that, until now,

has

never

been . . . discussed. Over

(surprisingly decent)

coffee

at the Denny’s

across from Sea-Tac

she

told

me everything; and

now I tell

you: she

lost

her

mind to feeling

that morning, and never

recovered. Killers

fear

me

now

more

than ever, she

said.

From a Distance, We

From a distance, we

assumed

it

was

a reflection

of something

celestial: the moon, a bright

star, a spotlight from a coast guard

plane. But when our vessel

got close, we saw

it was a real

fire

burning

on the deep

water. And a man (or a ghost)

sat, warming his hands,

as we passed.

Three People Running

Three people running

through

Cal

Anderson

Park wearing

identical orange

t-shirts

with

lettering

referring to some

event or group, past

or present

whose aim was, presumably,

community. I don’t

want to wear

an orange

t-shirt; or a

costume and a badge,

like the attendees

at the all-

out

Anime

convention

downtown, but

I see their

point.

The Sound of Cars

The sound of cars

beneath

Freeway

Park is like

the sound of sure

water

or

covetous

wind in a valley

southeast of prehistory.

And the relationship that

some men

who watch sports

develop with the demigods

on the imagination

of TV

is

like

the grunting

at a constellation

in

the aftermath

of a neolithic

hunt.

After Solving Three

After solving three

of the four

Jumbles,

Claire

shifted

her attention

to the Sudoku

on

the

same page. She

quickly ascertained

she

was in

no mood

for numbers, so

she looked out the

window

at the delicate

leaves on the sturdy

tree

living

entirely

without certainty

of

anything

safe. Too

many to name

or

count.

What Was Left of Meaning

What was left of meaning

was

trying

to get from

central nowhere to at least

the edge of civilization. The woods

were

lovely,

primitive

and welcoming. They were always

the beginning,

dark,

a hiding. I am the thief

on the other cross,

he

thought. I am

the measure

of

grace. And there

was a road.

The Appearance

The appearance

of normalcy,

of

respectability, was

more

important

to you than the welfare

of your children,

read

the fortune

on the rectangle

of paper

in the mother’s

hand,

which

began to shake.

The waiter,

noticing,

waited

at a distance. There

was a man also

at the table,

but

not

really. It

was too late

for

anything.

Waiting for the Light

Waiting for the light

to change

so

they

could

walk across

Commercial Street, Jake

put his arm around his wife,

and she smiled

at this rare

public

display

of affection. He liked her

long, chocolate brown,

silk

skirt and the red

leather boots she wore

down

below. He liked her and

wanted

her

to know.