The days stick together like June
bugs to a garage door which means it’s easy
to forget how we became so bad.
I choose not to remember the moments of impact,
the weddings or campfires or teenager
who hung himself with garden hose
in the neighbor’s shed. Instead I collect
the invisible hours, the sleepless
shadows, the everything everyone else
forgets. There’s a way to tie red yarn
one foot above the floor of your broken
apartment and pretend it’s a security
system. Some weeks I don’t eat
yet I stand in aisle 23 all afternoon
staring at milk, feeling my body
temperature lower, the revolver inside
my head click one roulette closer.
Don’t get me wrong, this is what happy
looks like. Today I’ll find a church
and consider how many prayer licks
it takes to get to the middle of a soul.
I will dress like a baby giraffe
and walk around town passing out cotton
candy while singing Leroy Brown.
Give me a story you can break with pliers.
A warm meal to toss in the air. They say
the older we get the more we start to look
like the pet animals clawing within us.
When I take off my suit, my skin, and jump
completely out of myself, I am an hourglass
made of salt. Grab a hammer. Make me happy.
PHILIP SCHAEFER’s debut collection of poems Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and he’s the author of three chapbooks, two co-written with friend and poet Jeff Whitney. He won the 2016 Meridian Editor’s Prize in poetry and has work out or due out in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Thrush Poetry Journal, Guernica, The Cincinnati Review, Salt Hill, Bat City Review, The Adroit Journal, Baltimore Review, diode, and Passages North among others. He tends bar in Missoula, MT.