"(Can't Get No) Stupefaction" by Leah Mueller

Your exes are all crazy.

 

The lawyer has a methhead girlfriend

who wanders around his yard at night,

moving random objects to scare his wife.

 

The vegetarian yoga teacher, grown soft

and lonely, lives in Alabama,

sends you bad poetry every day.

 

Your latest ex, in Michigan,

stays wasted until four

in the morning, then

sleeps until it’s time to go

to his part-time job in a supermarket.

 

His girlfriend the sex therapist

thinks you’re to blame for everything.

 

You must be crazy, as well.

There’s a clinical term for it,

maybe even a cure,

but you’re too lazy to change.

 

Your daughter thinks she’s ill

and takes two kinds of medications,

but she’s probably

the sanest one in the bunch.

 

The world is a storm

of inebriated wasps:

political sports and wars

and threats of future wars.

 

All of them fighting to the death

in an invisible arena,

for no reason, except

they’re out of their goddamned minds

and have nothing better to do.

 

Why should you be any different?

Let your center come unglued.

Nobody will notice.

 

The roar of your brain

will mesmerize, until you

can no longer pay attention

to anyone, and they

will fade into a curtain of static.

 

Welcome to amnesia.

What took you so long?

"The Song That Never Ends" by Leah Mueller

I don’t know

what I want

 

but I know

I don’t

want you:

 

and yet,

I stay

right here

beside you

 

because

 

I don’t know

what I want.

"Goodbye Email Written While Listening to Alice Coltrane on YouTube" by Leah Mueller

I’m not sure if I

should leave you,

or forget about it

and send you

this music: clear,

 

filled with such elegance.

Lucid and ethereal.

Not like us

with our broken notes.

 

We spent ten years

staring at the face

of our lunacy

from a distance

of three thousand miles.

 

It lasted much longer:

living with parents

who burned everything down,

then boyfriends who smashed

what pieces remained.

 

My raw face, hands,

reminders of wreckage.

 

And you:

another fallen robin.

I stood above the box,

fed you with an eyedropper,

your beak always open.

 

Flying over the continent,

interwoven like stitches.

Reopening the hole

before it could mend.

 

You dreamed of me:

arms outstretched.

My overflowing plate.

The night’s debris scattered

at the foot of your bed.

 

Once, you bought me a

forty dollar bottle of wine,

drank it all yourself.

I could never keep up

with your hunger.

 

My eyes still fool.

Just now I looked

out the window, thought

the leaves were apples.

 

My seventh decade waits

behind the last row of houses.

 

One decade spent with you.

Not together: four days

of furious driving.

A week if I took my time.

 

Machines made easier,

electronic couriers

instead of men on horseback.

Messages delivered in seconds.

 

The pain of no message.

The empty box. Then

your texts while I slept,

three hours behind.

 

Sudden phone call.

Ear against plastic,

your cadence a pillow.

Open beak. Those wings,

never fully developed.

 

I made a list of reasons

not to love. Your voice

erases my words,

but daylight reveals

their smudged outlines.

 

I hope we can separate

without haunting each other.

Last time, I made my way

back to your room,

found the door

you left unlocked on purpose.

Now: I’ll try harder

to get it correct. We’ll move

in separate directions.

Mirror images of departure,

growing fainter by the second.

 

The doors will open,

swallow us whole.

You arrived in the summer

and stayed. The winter

is time for leaving.