Two Poems

Jessica Laser



I had wanted to say I love America
But what came to mind was shut up

In a private world
I wondered which century

How if pain is said to “refer”
To write without hurt

How if I had no idea
To love without ideas


I think the season should change

me walking there, me leaving the house,

me collecting my keys. This is Ruthie’s camo vest,

red leaves along the driveway, glass from a window

somebody broke. This is Beachwalk, a dune

turned vacation community. The leaves redden.

A squirrel with its neck open. Ruthie pees

beneath a bush nearby. This is Reunion,

Reunion Guest, a TV on inside.

Snow falls lightly where renters rode

golf carts laden with floating things.

Had there been nature, which developers,

who are nature, made more nature of,

there would have been something untouched

by the dollar. Phoebe Bridgers

can’t get into her house. Peter Walker

unloads his trunk again, jawline visible

from here. My midriff walks by him.

Ruthie strains against the leash

to reach the cats, black and tawny,

Reunion’s owner’s father feeds

out of the garage, meowing loudly

from places you can’t see, calico and tabby

cats that stalk Ruthie. This is Power Lane.

A house with sculptures: Perfect Shot.

At night, rounding the pond, one

looks like a person. I always think it’s someone

come to watch the deer graze. Sunshine Inn.

The Movin’ Inn. People rent or owners

come back, their cars outside

Sandy Feet. I can see my breath, a silver

BMW X3. The Cape Codder. Chery Bomb.

Beach Dream. Houses with puns: Notre Dune,

Brigadune. With references: As You Wish,

Serenity NOW. With antique chairs,

curved white wood, twinkle lights, firepits,

lace curtains, linen curtains, a clock inside

pink neon. Jester has a new owner.

Men paint it. Aquamarine Dream.

And across Lake Kai, Whisper Dunes,

where the biggest house is finished,

lit like a marquee. We’re rounding the bend

on Beachwalk Lane, kayakers out, the lake

fringed in poison ivy, more houses, some

without names. Kokomo. Señor Mariposa

and another, Duneland Dream. Kayak

and Paddleboard Sign Up Activity Center.

It’s not closed, just not open. The lake

is frozen. You think you’re getting a window

into the life of a family: My 3 Girls. Catching Some Rays.

The Sand Trap. My fear is that nothing will happen,

license plates familiar as home hemisphere

constellations: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan.

Jessica Laser is the author of Sergei Kuzmich from All Sides (Letter Machine Editions, 2019) and Planet Drill, winner of the Other Futures Award, forthcoming this year from Futurepoem Books.

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