Reflection on First Season of a Marriage

Never get a husband. They never will make cheese plates without a fuss. Get a dog
with thumbs.	

Sometimes when my husband does the dishes, I rampage. I rampage when
                                     for some reason 
                                     the glasses look
dirtier than before a washing or I remember 
                 a loneliness. I shape that loneliness into a broom. I use 
                 it to sweep 
         away happiness,
a state that quite often can lead to complacency, and also to fly off
the broom’s handle inside me. 

We maybe all are holograms, 
a reputable scientific journal proclaims, and I tell the husband so after dinner. 

But why does this particular projection have small consciousness 
                                      that wishes
to sit in a straight-backed chair and recall reciting “Friends, Romans, countrymen” in high school 
      and this
                 little hologram goes to market and this little hologram hits zero
              stoplights all the way home?

Also, as a projection, I wonder at my own need

to touch. Is light drawn 
to light? Desire light?

Why should this little light become inconsolable over the silliest—

                   Oh, why is there so much of me
                              in me?
  				       Maybe this is easy

	                science: Each hologram an imagining light thought to construct, 
           in which one furry projection drinks from the toilet, one projection sprouts leaves
that fall annually and never improves 
                                      at leaf-retention, and my husband—
an invisible who may not exist in the kitchen behind me
if it weren’t for his singing. 

More by Lindsey D. Alexander

The Dream and a Shame

I was an observer: my own student
and my best teacher
in the forest working the lyrics together.
There were bees in his beard,
in a good way.

She cupped his chin: this
was platonic and also the source
of some honey. He fed her
two lines he had kept inside his soul
for years. I woke to write them and could

only remember alone.
He left and she
grabbed a banjo from a tree—
completed the song and bettered
it, besides. Something like “The Passionate Shepherd”

but blue, which the Impressionists
knew to put a touch of in every shadow.
Cut to: the sprung-open backs of a dozen watches.
Time was
busted; still

I didn’t fix the hands of clocks I could have moved.
The bells and cuckoo birds,
the dancing German ladies
with their aprons and their steins
shilly-shallied willy-nilly

throughout the day. And anyway,
I’ve learned naught if I haven’t learned not
to tell anyone when he or she
has appeared in a dream—
he or she never takes it the right way.

It does all sound unseemly, I admit—especially the horse, which I’ll get to.

Though I do want to ask—I guess
it’s less of a question, more of a comment—
if the song or the honey skips
a generation, the same as twins
or a quick temper?

Before the dream I was thinking of the horse
who bit the cowboy so you could see straight
through to his skull.
The horse that won’t be broken isn’t a romantic
story—it’s a shame and ends

with the horse hurting
a human then being put down.
Damned if I don’t worry that the horse is a mirror,
like the trainer says. Damned if I’m too afraid to push myself
out even so far as my own dream.

I only have two tools:
attention and inattention.

The rest—
just for show.

But credit where it’s due:
that banjo in the tree was a nice touch, subconscious,
a real lucky break.

Sleepless in Indiana, I Contemplate the Age-Old Arts

Dog that won’t stop barking and all I can think:
I don’t know anything about stars—		

not what they’re called or how they form, but how

we turn stars into stickers to surprise
our children and assure them You are better
than normal children. 				

On boat decks, sailors cry out Orion!
			and they see a man,
but they’ve only drawn stick-figure self-portraits
of fire and longing. 

		      I tried to sketch
my face one night with stronger brow lines,
higher cheekbones, but it was all nose, scaly 
water moccasin: a viper me. 

I paid someone who drew me in 
red with big hair, gaunter—
the way he drew me made me

see how lonely he thought I was. I rolled
that portrait with wax paper and a rubber band,

		look at it during the Lenten season—

That same spring or summer on the back of a boat, I caught a sunfish, baited him
with gum. I didn’t like unhooking him—

tore his lip. Astrologists 
shape stars into fish, take cracks at
decoding futures. Palm-reading hocus-pocus: 

on my hand—which is starboard, 
                 port, and which is solar flare?

I could use that hand to throw a tomahawk
from this bed and hit neither boat nor star 

from way down here, 
so far from water.

Homestead, Sure

                                  But then there’s the beauty of the rodeo:

		the buck and nod, 
				                      that arch and stretch
			        against gravity.

		    A bronco’s no square peg,
and neither am I.

		Pegs or no, we both flex
  			our more resistant muscles—			

			strong-legged, strong-willed.

To learn might
                             is the ticket.

The power of my unrelenting?

				         When I expose 
			how pure, how—
			           if stubborn enough— 
			                 entire I can be—