Into the Ether


In the old schoolhouse in which I live

the ghosts of farm children

wake me with their rambunctiousness


I make guttural noises in my throat

and believe I am speaking to them through the ether

in Hebrew

and that they understand me


I ask them to let me sleep for a couple more hours

before I have to go to work in the mill


These children became adults

Many farmed, others went off to towns and cities,

became mathematicians, shoe salesmen, carpenters’ wives


Now they’re all gone

into the ether

into Madame Voslowski’s

jumbled, unformed universe


Rachel Close to Madness


Rachel lives next to a golf course, she complains

Every morning she’s awakened at five-thirty

by machines that dry the golf course grass


Perhaps I don’t seem sufficiently outraged on her behalf


She asks, Do you want to hear what it sounds like?

Before I can answer she shoves her face into mine

Her eyes are wide, scared, angry


Her voice is a constricted scream



I want to slap her but don’t

I’ve never hit a woman

I want to comfort her but she is beyond comfort

I can’t think of how to respond, so I don’t

She settles back in her chair and we go on


Carleen Acts on the Strength of Her Convictions


Carleen and I have come to this isolated place

to renew ourselves

It’s a hard place to get to

even harder to get out of

Exhausted we pitch our tent

and roll into our sleeping bags


We awake to overcast skies

Carleen grabs my new bottle of Zoloft, a month’s worth

and throws it off the cliff


At first my mind can’t register this fact

I’ve been on Zoloft so long

that I can’t immediately remember how long it’s been

since I suffered such abject misery

that nearly every thought was about

a different way to kill myself

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