Timothy Yu (Chicago/Toronto, USA/Canada): Four Poems

to Helene

There’s a green dustcover over every place
That seems worth going back to, pilled
By thinking, candy-apple tart.
You’ve just begun your trip around
The map of where you are when some
Remembered patchwork drops on top of it,
Catching every hook with an eye
That glances homeward. Don’t tell us how
You’ve always wanted this to be
Your starring role. Cast
Off your energetic plush
And wrap one callback finger
Around each ornament.
That’s when you’ll really know
How wishes rise like buried
Grains of rice or breadloaf
Juttings into marked-off space,
Nodding spring-loaded heads along
To this defeated beat.

to Soham

Brown down, past half-spent dollars, went
like ever-feather-loving doorbells. Aren’t
you going to get that? Look up for
your next homefront girl. If every
giggle was a gaggle of fleece, we’d
never know how to tie off our own
open mouths. Now I am hailing
a taxi at every dead-end street
corner, playing “Here Comes the Guy”
on my stupid box. You don’t
like it? That’s a shame. It’s meant
to be repeated every thirteen days
on a bareback island shore.
Shorten up those reins. Cover
every eye with wax. Wilt
greens and blues over unbearable
heat. The greatest bandbox
hits of 1885 are back
to haunt our driving rain.
Can’t you hear them between
the bars of this browning
breadstick cage? I can.

to Hossannah

It was an ordinary day.
Firefighters were lounging
with coffee and tape measures.
The condiment table was fully
stocked. Then the door
closed. Through the wall I could hear
Harry and Hermione with Bruce
Willis at the site
of another building explosion. Or
were they calling my name?
Nowhere to go
but up, I guess. My fingers
wrapped the ledge like a sausage.
I pulled like rowing
and became a hero.

to Jen

They enter wearing poem-proof vests.
Each is armed with a Poetry Magazine
totebag. In close formation
they swarm the free tables for copies of Make
and Stop Smiling. The chorus
of pixies falls silent. Smokers
are escorted to the loading dock.
No more free half-hot dogs with everything
for you, I'm afraid. We flee
wearing nothing but hard hats and suspenders.
But still the door won't
close. Disperse, they say, disperse,
like clouds in a cloudless sky.

© Timothy Yu 2007