Sample: The Other Heart

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Winner of the Devil’s Millhopper Chapbook Contest, 1990

Sample poems:

VASECTOMY

I’m on my back, my calves
resting in metal stirrups.
My scrotum, shaved, hangs
like pink fruit in the man’s
eyes, a man I’ve spoken to
once in my life.
When he spreads the cold blue
antiseptic gel over it and
says something almost too
soft to hear, something about
the fine weather, I think
of two men alone at 3 a.m.,
passing along a subway platform,
the steady maddening drip
of water echoing. I think of
the odd, shy angle of their
eyes meeting in momentary
and necessary trust.
Now, the doctor is
telling me as softly as
a lover how I will feel,
as I watch the thin
yellow strips of the afternoon
waver and pulse on the far wall:
bee-sting of the needle,
the razor quick and bloodless
as a papercut. But I am
already touching the scar
months from now, feeling it
disappear like a tiny hand
from the clear blue surface of a lake.

HOROSCOPE

Cancer. You’ll find what you need
and you’ll be at right place at
right time. Watch for Virgo.

Creeley says position is where
you put it: today
I’ll be careful

to put it in the right place.
Maybe it’s that easy,
after all.

When I get there I’ll find something
I need. This is going
to be a day!

And just in time–lately, I believe
I can tell you this, every
action has been

as cumbersome as an empty
pizza box. I’m all elbows
and small accidents,

like the wind bumping that sparrow
off a wire. I shut the door
behind me, thinking

what I need are some continuous
small explosions behind
my eyes. When I walk

down the street, everyone says hello
and really means it!–the word
floating into

my ears like news of an unexpected
inheritance. Then I move
through the bright air

ringing with bird chatter until
I come to the right place,
a streetcorner where,

miraculously, women let me
follow them home with my eyes.
Even better,

a beauty with an armload of books
turns back and brushes my
cheek with her

lips. It’s my wife, all of her moons
rising. I follow her home,
at which point

position is almost everything.