This morning the kitchen floor
cold enough to require socks,
a poisoned little poem in my chest
called “Love in the Empire.”
I’m in the flight path of bomber trainees:
bird song eclipsed by jet engines.
It’s taken years but I’ve quit caring
whether I live
alone. Our love was strongest
two days before you left me,
and I realize now
that means you left yourself too,
such is the conspiracy of union. We were
minor players in a mediocre war.
The sniper had yet to
hang the toddler from the streetlamp
as bait. Is it memory that makes us
identify with the riptide? That day in July
we picnicked at the beach,
a thousand dead jellyfish on the sand
like celestial ejaculation—
nearly all endings dissatisfy.
Christopher Nelson is the author of Blue House, published in the PSA’s New American Poets Chapbook Series. He is an alumnus of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program. His interviews with poets can be read online at Under A Warm Green Linden.