A better-looking version of you 
fleshes out the interesting impulses 
you suppress inside that 
mediocre sweatshirt. 

At last your fantastical love  
scenes receive proper lighting. 
Your meandering dreams? 
Sharpened by focus groups. 
Your ambitions enjoy  
supplemental ad support. 
Your courage, stunt doubles. 
Predictably inferior villains 
serve as target practice for  
your perfectly flung one-liners. 
Witty coworker banter  
serves as calisthenics  
for your perfected politics. 
Sit back and relax as  
the narrator’s witty voice-over  
unpacks the cumbersome symbolism        
making up your life.


In the urn of the lengthening day
The man who will die on my street
Is walking backward toward traffic

With his shirt on backward,
A bright orange vest, backward, and


Although he stinks,
I love to hold his small
brokenness on my lap,
reeking teeth worn down
on a metal cage to almost
nothing, tongue that hangs
clear out when …

Birds of Illegal Trade

To be a traitor is to trade—
     Take, for example, the blue macaw

of my childhood, traded
     for two rocks of crack

and a dime of blow. My block raided

Schadenfreude, Austin

February is checking my e-mail
while waiting at the drive-thru
dry cleaners to pick up my husband’s
work shirts, pressed razor sharp
and the girl asking from the backseat,
“What …