Let's use our nicknames
When we apply for this next job
Even though it's past our bedtime
And our current paycheck
Can't shut up the muse
Who mewls at the dinner table
Begging for a crust of bread
To sate the nightly terrors.
For they come, don't they,
Leaving empty spaces numbers
Are supposed to fill. Buddy
And Chip loaded their coffers
Before the hard freeze.
The ice burns our tongues
As we swallow prosperity
One parched drop at a time.

More by Sally Van Doren


I chart the psyche,
observing how I 
force myself to speak
to you, imagining that
together we might
transform a life.  

Why this need
to document change,
to reverse a mood, 
to carry forward the time
when magnolias bloom?

Let’s follow the itinerant we
up and over the jonquil's back,
treading on its spilled bullion.


I remember the hour
you stole time from me

and here in these late pages
I try to collect back

the kisses in the parking lot
that erased my history

next to that green F-150
when you became my future.

After Every There 3

I want to claim
that burst of blue,
to register it is an
antidote to the explosion
of too much emotion,
the yellows, reds and greens
that bombard my morning
vision.  Can we get
along or can’t we?
Not when one young man
sets his anger on fire
and it’s lights out
for everyone around him.

In response to Eva Lundsager’s painting of the same title.

Related Poems

How I Changed My Name, Felice

In Italy a man's name, here a woman's,
transliterated so I went to school
for seven years, and no one told me different.
The teachers hardly cared, and in the class
Italian boys who knew me said Felice,
although outside they called me feh-LEE-tchay.

I might have lived, my noun so neutralized,
another seven years, except one day
I broke a window like nobody's girl,
and the old lady called a cop, whose sass 
was wonderful when all the neighbors smiled
and said that there was no boy named Felice.
And then it was it came on me, my shame,
and I stepped up, and told him, and he grinned.

My father paid a quarter for my sin,
called me inside to look up in a book
that Felix was American for me.
A Roman name, I read. And what he said
was that no Roman broke a widow's glass,
and fanned my little Neapolitan ass.