My Mother the Philosopher Considers Non Sequiturs by Gary McDowell

Definition: time where time is negligent, where a fire-
ant’s sting is a light bulb brushed against your skin.
Honey, be careful what you wish for because sometimes

it comes true. And then the swelling, the burn, ideas,
quick figments of a narrator, a chorus and then
a single boy. It’s possible to have more than a dollar

in change and not be able to break a dollar—
so make sure, sweetie, that you always have a dollar.
We’ve a no-slip rug in our living room.

The point is to lose yourself completely
in bad dreams without musical accompaniment
where you know there are risks to looking out

the window: thunderstorms, aquariums, some other
kind of miracle. Your hands can shield the sun—
don’t let your eyes fool you: 8 minutes takes only 8 minutes—

but you’ve got to move your hands: horizontally and then
south by southwest. The opera balcony you can fish from
holds a single note all night, doing what it can

to keep your eyes open. Sleep is an assessment
to make shapely your wake, so rest well, darling.
The cold snap last winter broke our thermometer.

Editor’s Feature in TQ1: An Interview with Gary McDowell by TJ Jarrett

Gary L. McDowell is the author of Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, forthcoming) and American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010) and is the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). He lives in Nashville, TN.