the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2008



Michael Morical

Scratch 'N' Sniff

Once my dander's up, there's no stopping the smell.
You trip on the holes I lay and slop your smell.

The Easter egg we never found has hatched.
Leave it for Santa. See if he can top the smell.

The hardworking vapors of kidney stew undo me.
You start the stove and stir the pot, plotting the smell.

We shower together in New Year's shadow.
You deploy the Body Shop but nothing strips my smell.

Remodeling our house doesn't take the death out.
We argue in fresh paint, allotting the smell.

My ass gets numb as it hardens the barstool.
Stuck on eyes that look away, I shop for a smell.

Traces of your April scent take the A train.
I grab a strap and ignore the source, copping a smell.


Two Bus Drivers

Through the door without a fare,
he sits on the rail
between driver and passengers
before they know he's there.
Windows rattle.
Rain takes a siesta.
He and his colleague,
both in yellow slickers,
chew betel and moan
about their boss, who allows
no betel on the bus.
They spit in a can they share
with twilit conversation,
careful not to splatter.
Jokes grow. Time shrinks.
They change
places at the terminus.



Shopping list in mind:
mushrooms, Drano, mousetrap and thyme.
A cart rams my heel.
I page the ads left in my basket.
Breeze of a butcher
rushing by touches my bare legs
as something clicks
and the produce is misted
and music rolls down the aisle
with the shopping carts
and everything missing fits
and the song passes through my mitts
until I name it.



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