Sam Says Everything

’s weird if you stare at it and I’m staring
at the travel graph of the Voyager craft—
the one that sailed past all our planets

taking the pictures I’ve framed of Jupiter’s
big red eye, ice geysers on Enceladus
and the spooky blue of Neptune.

A while back I emailed the childhood friend
who became a past life regressionist.
She told me life began on a distant moon

which made life seem kind of middling, to me—
side-shelved and orbiting around
whatever the real real thing might be.

One time late at night on a golf course
we kissed and she said it wasn’t right.
I still wonder specifically why. 

She replied to say a good way to go insane
is to constantly ask what’s wrong with yourself
and expect someone to answer.

She also said I thought you died
and all week I wondered if it might be true.
I’ve heard reality’s a function

of expectation, so my problem
stems from my prospect: I seem to be
clinging to the idea of a satellite

way out in the frozen night
beeping news from the motherland.
Like my own aging mother

sending clippings about potato blight,
poisonous spiders, New
Zealand’s musical theater scene,
and the township’s announcement
that the golf course has been sold
to an investment group out of Manitoba.

Just tell me: was it the mosquitos?
Were my lips dry or ineffective in some way?

Beep…  Beep…

                             I was just saying hello.

Beep…  Beep…

                            but I guess I would like to know…


                                       after Sam Lipsyte

Originally published in American Poetry Review. Copyright © William Stobb. Used with the permission of the poet.