in which it will be impossible 
to get 
what is now immediate. 

in which everyone discovers
they’re next in line. 

for disenfranchisement. 
for de-activation. 
for dying horribly in an 
unimaginable way. 

it doesn’t have to be this way, 
but clearly knowing the secret isn’t enough. 

wonder how time will betray 
this desire to control outcome. 

look at us wishing on a world
that remains unmoved by 
all the right words. 

what we’ve learned 
could make a utopia
                       hasn’t changed the way

       we punch each other 
       for not 
       enabling the worst in us. 

we resigned attitude 
towards the collateral
of this chaos
we perpetuate in the name of. 

we think 
            as if the planet wants to know first 
                                               how you wanna extinct? 

keep living in everyone’s favorite 
einstein quote. 

painting the house a different color
isn’t storm prevention. 

when the planet comes for us, 
it will be because 
of what we did to each other 

when we thought we weren’t. 

when we were 
fussing with the perfection 
of seeming. 

when we decided 
that it’s better to look the part 
than earn the way. 

From Well Played (Not a Cult, 2020) by Beau Sia. Copyright © 2020 by Beau Sia. Used with the permission of the publisher.

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

From What the Living Do, copyright © 1998 by Marie Howe. Used by permission of W. W. Norton. All rights reserved.