These are My Days, by Ron Paul Salutsky


configured like stamens on a dahlia
and she’s somewhere else
with someone else, smelling good,
sipping milkshakes, maybe,

and I’ve covered the peppers
ahead of the frost, unhooked
the grief bone (maybe the ulna)
for the evening, content to sit

around and watch field hockey
reruns and tomorrow peek at me
from around corners
that have nothing to do with corn

like I’d hoped, and the night’s
baggy negligee dances on a string
tied to my favorite constellation,
what’s it called, Ineffable

or something, semi-bright
like all the churches in this town,
reminder physics (another God) teaches us
motion precedes light,

it’s something I hear, the iamb, the stressed
voice rising, the sizzle of spit
in a candlewick when I snuff it
smokeless, and soon it’ll be too warm

for oysters and I’ll lament again
not having eaten more
and no one will be friendly
because it’s a college town

and no one will ever want to stop
and talk
except on their phone
and grief will be just another sour pickle

I can’t stop licking and sex
another configuration
after which I’ll want something
and it’s not a cigarette

and it’s not a glassful of some sourmash
Tennessee backwater and it might be
that the tide of all misgivings washes
message-less bottles onto the sand

and I’ll brush that bobby pin
you left on my dresser
once and for all into the wastebasket
and it’ll feel like all my memories

are worthless and I’ll even vacuum
to get rid of your flesh
and when I go to the backyard
to dump that canister of dust

mites fucking their brains out
with the flashes of heat lightning
distant against the murky sunset
again in the unforgivable tangle of late April,

it will be us and those mites eating us
and roughly a handful of our flannel sheets
that I dump into the compost bin
on top of some old dried coffee filters.




Ron Paul Salutsky is the author of Romeo Bones (Steel Toe Books, 2013). Previous poems, fiction, scholarship, and Spanish poetry translations have appeared in the John Clare Society Journal, América Invertida: An Anthology of Younger Uruguayan Poets, On Writing (McGraw-Hill, 2014), Narrative, Verse Daily, and Colorado Review. Read more of Ron’s work at