I know you like to compare me to the Egyptian Goddess Isis
but I don’t really think that’s fair.

To her, not me.

For one thing:
Sometimes when I stub my toe against the china cabinet
as I’m going to refill my glass of wine,
I loudly exclaim
Fuck Shit Ass Damn
and call my wine bottle a son of a bitch.

I don’t think Isis would do that.

When my street dog tears up a book I just bought,
Especially The Children of Green Knowe,
I tell him I fucking hate him
and I wish I’d never brought him home.
Of course, I love him
but he drives me batshit insane most of the time.

I doubt ol’ Isis would hate anything

And check this:
Just the other day, one of my employees
sensing my utter desperation,
rolled a fat ass joint for me and left it in the door of her car, the lighter on the seat.
“Go take you a couple hits, you’ll feel better.”
So I did.
And I don’t even smoke, really.
But sometimes life is a heartless little bitch
and you can’t escape it any other way
than to go sit in the parking lot, in a tinted car,
on the corner of Highway 80 and nowhere,
and cry your goddamn eyes out while you inhale a blunt so strong that you cough and sputter
because you haven’t hit that shit since college,
and college was 80 years ago on another planet.

Do you think Isis would do some shit like that?

My kid knows every cuss word and in different languages

Isis would die.

I curse under my breath at old people, babies, and animals
even though I love all three.
I take the lord’s name in vain on a daily basis, sometimes for the entire goddamn day.
I am wildly unhinged and prone to sadness and would rather watch the flowers wilt
under the weight of your absence,
than to see them thrive in a garden where you are not their gardener.

Isis would never stand for it.

You once told me you could read between the lines
but I’m not giving you enough space to do that.
I’m dirty, broken, worn out, tired.
I’m offensive, lewd, crass.
I’m a mediocre mom with no goddamn blueprint.
I’m a half-assed daughter who doesn’t do enough.
I’m just ok at being the boss.
I’m nobody’s someone.

But I have this heart and for some reason it’s huge and cavernous
and there’s all kinds of back alleys in it where I keep people and animals.
One of those alleys is named after you.
It’s littered with all the debris you left behind and I don’t bother cleaning it up.
I just wallow in it until your scent is all over me.

And I’m not ever coming out of that alley.

So Listen.

If I may speak on behalf of Isis:
Please don’t compare her to a derelict like me.

every single day

every single day

By John Straley

Suppose I said the word “springtime”
and I wrote the words “king salmon”
on a piece of paper
and mailed it to you.
When you opened it
would you remember that afternoon we spent
together in the yellow boat
when the early whales were feeding
and we caught our first fish of the year?

Or would you remember that time off Cape Flattery
when you were a little girl:
your father smoking, telling stories as he ran the boat,
then the tug and zing of that very first fish
spooling off into the gray-green world;
you laughing and brushing back your hair
before setting the hook?

I know I am hard to understand sometimes
particularly when you are standing
at the post office with only a piece of paper
saying “king salmon” on it
but just think of it as a promissary note
and that electric tug, that thrill
pulling your mind into deep water
is how I feel about you every,

single day.

Wreck Me

Good Girl

By Kim Addonizio

Look at you, sitting there being good.
After two years you’re still dying for a cigarette.
And not drinking on weekdays, who thought that one up?
Don’t you want to run to the corner right now
for a fifth of vodka and have it with cranberry juice
and a nice lemon slice, wouldn’t the backyard
that you’re so sick of staring out into
look better then, the tidy yard your landlord tends
day and night — the fence with its fresh coat of paint,
the ash-free barbeque, the patio swept clean of small twigs —
don’t you want to mess it all up, to roll around
like a dog in his flowerbeds? Aren’t you a dog anyway,
always groveling for love and begging to be petted?
You ought to get into the garbage and lick the insides
of the can, the greasy wrappers, the picked-over bones,
you ought to drive your snout into the coffee grounds.
Ah, coffee! Why not gulp some down with four cigarettes
and then blast naked into the streets, and leap on the first
beautiful man you find? The words Ruin me, haven’t they
been jailed in your throat for forty years, isn’t it time
you set them loose in slutty dresses and torn fishnets
to totter around in five-inch heels and slutty mascara?
Sure it’s time. You’ve rolled over long enough.
Forty, forty-one. At the end of all this
there’s one lousy biscuit, and it tastes like dirt.
So get going. Listen: they’re howling for you now:
up and down the block your neighbors’ dogs
burst into frenzied barking and won’t shut up.

Frantic Emails and Hugs from Strangers

Forwarding blank emails a million times just to see if they go through

Followed by:
Oh, J, my heart is all aching for you and I can’t stand the thought that you might have blocked me or closed your email account.  Everything keeps getting returned.  I don’t understand why.  I’m so sorry if my email came across as insensitive.  I only wanted to make you laugh.  I know it was a horrible situation but I thought I was making light of it.  Upon rereading it, I can clearly see that it was not the right response to send to you in your emotional state.  I hate myself for thinking it was.  I’m so sorry.

I wish I could talk to you.  I’m losing my mind

Please get this

I am devastated and feel like the air around me is suffocating me.


It feels like suffocating
It feels like drowning
It feels like heavy thick molasses air
It feels like a sturdy rope suddenly severed
It feels like looking into the bottom of a well
It feels like staring into a starless and moonless night sky
Void all the way around
You reach out to the air around you but it’s not air it’s rubber and it’s closing in on you
And it’s squishing you there between it until your heart beats so hard against it
That all of the walls start to vibrate to its rhythm
And then you can’t breathe
And then your heart actually really explodes
And it rains down all around you until your cheeks are hot with tears
And you’re in your car
You say his name over and over again
Then you switch to God’s name
Asking, pleading
Downright ORDERING


Just make contact
You plead to him and to God
And the ant crawling along your steering wheel
The leaf on your windshield
The darkness of your car
The greenish glow of your radio dial.
You plead.
When you pull up to the drive -thru window
Because the kid’s gotta eat
But the kitchen feels like death
Because there’s the table
You sat at when you wrote your things to him
And there’s the speaker on the counter where you played the songs he sent
While you cooked
And the bottle of Jameson you bought just last weekend
Because he likes Jameson and you like him
And that’s what you do when you like someone and oh, god!
You do like him!

Swollen, your eyes
The tears collecting in the bags beneath them
Made more cavernous by the silence
Your cheeks red
Your voice tiny and timid
As you order the kids vanilla frosty and cheeseburger
Hastily wiping your eyes as you pull around to pay
Allergies is what you’ll tell her
She’s going to ask
Only she doesn’t
She says ‘it’s going to be ok’
And closes the window to swipe your card
You don’t believe her but her kindness unleashes
The downpour
And your cup doesn’t just runneth over
It floods
And she’s running out to meet you in the parking lot
Of the drive thru at Wendy’s
On a Tuesday night in the rain
And she opens your car door
You rise to meet her
And throw yourself into her short arms and hold onto her
Hard and long
Your face buried in her shoulder, your stomach heaving in and out
Her hands running circles on your back
“It’s going to be ok it’s going to be ok”
The tears dry and you get back in your car
“I love you” she says
“I love you too” you tell her
Gone then, back into the hamburger joint
The person at the window hands you the burger and ice cream
And you cruise out into the night
Wondering if that lady knew

You were dying of a broken heart