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Empty of Love and Money

by Channie Greenberg

An acquired taste: pizza plus
Cigarettes, also peanut butter.
Wedding invitation samples,
Contest forms for European
Honeymoons, gifts of bath towels,
Potential employers’ communications
Fill my mailbox.

Sofa-bound, I smooth my comforter.
All such injuries lighten when
“Surprise me” means new sweaters,
Shiny trinkets, or discovering
Missing home-repair magazines;
No one jives the media’s fuss over
“Innovative” war toys.

The neighbors’ passive aggression antics,
Akin to my partner’s contact information,
Have been prostituted,
Made street-plain on Linked, Facebook, and Twitter,
Against the backdrop of the crystal bowl
My grandmother passed down
To scent the decades with stewed fruit.

Cancer, political or otherwise,
Makes stalwarts, not ninnies
Out of rational romance;
Serendipitously remaining heart’s province,
Except when girlfriends are diagnosed pregnant;
Those times find steadfast trust disabled,
Reel in philogistons or burst upon contact.

Similar to plastic cups,
Thank-you notes and birthday cards
Can be ratcheted, in contrast
With a vacant dormitory room,
His mother’s step-stool, advertised safe marriages,
Crumbled building facades,
Also, administrative assistants’ identities.

The untutored, ever willing to cover their heads,
To copy backward motes resembling
Research scientists’ imperceptible finds,
Grow lax in promising,
Reluctant in committing,
Unable to leap tall relationships
In single bounds.

Maybe they remember to share their lunches.
But overall the social strata remain confused,
Sleepy witnesses to fumbling intimacies,
To boundaries turned discrete for shame
To faith fashioned to fit
The upper echelons of logical positivism
When the unemployed populate Pittsburgh.

Copyright © 2013 by Channie Greenberg

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