Poem Notes


Not so much the myth, as all the beauty
defined by hips and glitter caught in hair,
a finger etch-a-sketching collarbone and lip-
gloss smear in the school gymnasium
that doubles as a dance floor (thanks to helium
and crepe streamers) in the building
that will be torn down come winter.
We could be levers or lovers in some
mechanism, I mouth into his sliver
of an ear. I don’t know what I mean by this.

Or gears, he says, glimmering. By this he means
why is he here under a crappy disco ball
rotating fast and gathering, bought from Spencer’s Gifts
in a Green Bay mall, four long hours away by car. Grease scent
murmurs up from the auto shop
that abuts the room that holds the boiler
like a hand does when it wants to check a pulse
as we learned in Health.

I scratch my name in wax along his shoulder
blades so he will take it back with him.

More swing than wing, he whispers,
and I say I won’t include that cheesy line
in my post-dance-to-friends report. If you say
cut a rug, I say, I’m leaving you
alone out here with no one to hold on
to you.

My friend Rob hit a trout with his car on prom night.
It was wrapped in paper in the center of the frozen
line of road, and his steering adjustment saved it from a ruder   
route to fate, but he skidded through a snowbank
and that evening’s fault, collapse, just shy of the canal
with all of its frozen beacons.

I ask Icarus what that might mean and he
says, Mean, baby, shush. His hand,
my mouth. A streamer tears
and dangles down. This is not a lesson,
and I don’t know and haven’t learned or stayed

in school no more than him or you.