Do trees die of old age

Navigate to the nearest sinkhole

Translate “I am lost” into Cantonese

Play “Operator” by Jim Croce

Find a cult near me

Set a timer for forty years

Remind me to drain the bathtub

Call mom


Anyone who thinks we are not already living in a dystopian society is fooling themselves
I drove south down Nelson Road
Looked up to the barrier wall on the west side of the road holding up the train tracks
Grey and stained with wet and creeping with dead ivy
Styrofoam garbage tucked into the curbs of the road
Thirty degrees and drizzling
And the sky is the exact grim-grey as this West-Germany wall

I’m headed to the store to get my rations
Of fat free greek yogurt,
Low fat granola,
And tea
Just to drive back again
Through slow traffic and brown slush
To my hiding spot

Just to place a shiny screen close to my face
And look at images of 120 pound girls
In bikinis
Sleeping in rainbow hammocks on the porches of luxury huts in Tahiti
And puppies cohabitating with piglets
And huge muscle bound men bench pressing their girlfriends
“Oh, this is nice” brain says
“This is good. I’ll just… stay here for a minute, or two”

I asked my husband, “If we’re living in the matrix, would you want to know?”
“Are you depressed?” he asked

I shrugged
And scrolled


I have been learning to swim
It is not a natural thing for me
There is no rhythm
No ease of effort

I am an awkward animal
Not built for underwater propulsion

My goggles fog-up quickly from nervous heat
And sometimes create an image
In the lane just next to mine
Of a person’s legs, underwater
Who is not there
I get to the end of the lap
And rub the inside of the lenses to
Wipe away potential hallucinations

Tonight I share a lane with a stranger
As kids have occupied the rest of the pool
Adults are here for more boring reasons like exercise
So we defer to those involved in more important tasks
like play

She slips in
Sets up her water bottle, her kickboard, her flippers and a thing i don’t have a word for
And i feel like a girl at the 8th grade dance
I don’t know where to put my arms or legs
So i sink down deep into the water
I hold the ledge
To hide
I bubble of the top of the water

She says

And she pushes off and settles in immediately
to a delightful, musical,
Water-slappy kind of swim
I watch her and mimic her arms
In the dry open air

I wait for her turn around
And head in
I’ve got it, for a length
Or at least i think i do

When we pass one another
I think i feel her heat
Pushing out from her strokes at me

Her tiny waves make me aspirate
Chlorine water

I cough it up under the surface
And come up the next third stroke
Pretending to be okay
Making a terrible gasping sound

There is something peaceful and horrible about breathing out underwater
For three strokes at a time
There is some pearl of zen in there
That i cannot seem to crack open

I see her collecting those pearls
While i flounder
Cannot help but feel jealous

The second time we pass
I am overcome so much by the pressure
Of her waves
That i indulge in fantasy
And as i propel in her opposite direction
I drift off into a place where

I am swimming underneath her
Facing up towards her underwater-mouth
Like a smaller fish docking onto the safety of a whale’s belly
No names
No history
No future
No friendship
No love affair
Only feeling not speaking
Warm wet bodies locked together
Long enough to require
Gasps for air


I went out to dinner on New Year’s Eve
And as soon as we opened the door to the restaurant
I felt like an escapee from some kind of cultural bunker
Or like my grandmother any time she took me to the mall in the 90s.
I openly ogled two ferocious men at the bar
Wearing full sequin blazers
One with dangling, sparkly earrings in the shapes of airplanes
I am wearing a black dress I bought nine years ago
Something inspired by a break-up
And high heels I bought at Payless the same year
I do not participate in fashion, so-to-speak
(I don’t need any more insatiable hungers)
But I like that it’s happening
Out there
In the same way that sandstorms are blowing through a desert
Or that glaciers are moving in an ocean