Joe Elliot

You are a potato chip

who wants to be a pretzel. You are a CRV
who wants to be a red Miata. You are a man
searching his pockets and jackets and the top
of his bureau for keys. And you can’t leave
until you find them. You believe you need them.
You believe the Earth is round, which is very
true, but not nearly as interesting as the Earth
is the home of unlikelihood, an unlikelihood
you don’t like to look at. Who cares what you like
or don’t like? This isn’t a menu and you aren’t
sitting at a bar. This is a poem, and so it’s not wow,
you’re Jesus Christ walking on water, it’s wow,
you’re Joe Blow walking on Earth, and yes, it is
curving slightly, which gives you your horizon,
which helps you think, so that walking thus
you realize maybe you don’t need the keys or car
or bike or any kind of vehicle. You don’t need
to go anywhere. You are a potato chip. You need
to just be and let yourself be eaten.

I was too lazy

to take out my notebook and write a poem.
I was too tired to utter even one word

on behalf of the universe and the way she mumbles
sleepily from the bed, protesting her

meager portion of comforter. And although
I do adjust the bedding, I am way

too whatever to describe to you the way
I’m feeling, the way dawn comes so

slowly and evenly, as if I’m living in an out
of the way diorama and the first museum

workers have just punched in and are now
turning on the lights, room by room.

Joe Elliot is the author of If It Rained Here, a collaboration with Julie Harrison (Granary Books, 2004), Opposable Thumb (subpress, 2006), Homework (Lunar Chandelier, 2010), and Idea for a B Movie (Free Scholars Press, 2016). He teaches English and lives in Brooklyn.