They Were Singing Rhiannon, Not Vienna
Desire, It’s Complicated: folding
& unfolding, an old map outworn,
wrinkled street names smudged to erasures,
boundaries blurred by creases & crises.
You are here: always lost, always knowing
exactly where you are. But where is that?
How does this grid align with this empty
square before you, a gray statue staring
over your head, pigeons slowly backing
away? No one has sat on these benches
for over a century; they’re still warm.
The fountain is rich with fallen leaves,
every shade of lipstick represented.
A sign for tourists reads Welcome Home;
a foreign tongue awaits behind your
teeth. You don’t want to pull out a map
in broad daylight or the broader night.
You don’t want to ask that shadow, leaning
against the lamppost, for directions,
knowing what they will say: how you can’t
get there from here because you’ve already
arrived. How it’s always time to leave.
You Say Chiasmus, I Say Chimera
It’s the way everything recedes into
the past before it happens: the way
everything happens so it can recede
into the past. Memory is a beast
that never existed in nature, a myth
that’s a hit, solid gold, straight to the top,
number one with a bullet, straight from the
heart, a shot to the head. An exit wound
is every time you stepped into the dusk
at the end of the first truly hot day
of summer, & every summer dusk to come.
Oh, this feeling again. But nothing’s
the same. Lionclaw, goathorn, snaketooth;
snaketooth, goathorn, lionclaw, remember.
In Memory of When I Cared
We were woken by the waiting for
the other smoking gun to drop.
Night comes quickly, a faithful dog,
black eyes shining in a face of black fur.
The fortune cookie tells us how the world
will end in tears, in bed. A black tee reads
IN MEMORY OF WHEN I CARED. Every day
feels funereal. We’re mourning something
that hasn’t happened yet, but will.
We have our ears to the ground though our heads
feel severed. We’re having an out-of-the-
We’re an elegy, if by elegy you mean
a motherfucker ready to light this place up.
Gregory Crosby is the author of the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System) and The Book of Thirteen (2016, Yes Poetry). He teaches creative writing in the College Now program at Lehman College.