Room On Fire

I don’t like that the queen of clubs looks
like my grandmother. Future,

choose, choice, child. Most Americans
work for universities now, drunk
off wedding china and mountain speak. The man

I’ve been waiting for meets me in the hallway
and we play cards.

Sidewalk chalk again. Running

on dark, cold nights. He sings
“Dylan Thomas was young and easy”
like a love poem that postscripts
all-night diner-flickers. A better word

for wind. It’s dangerous out here.

The man who looks like the minister
is here. He’s chewing napkin-cud,
listens close to a dread
locks lady’s rough
opposites. She might be his AA sponsor. She
might be quizzing him on his fraternity
membership knowledge, or on stained glass
geometry, or whodunit board games. “What
you say is confusing.” What you say
is crystalline, nurture
is at stake. What upsets
you? What did he promise
that never made it
to the table?

Yesterday, I poisoned my eyes
with talk of purgatory and library books. The day

before, I raised the blinds higher
so my cat could watch the seagulls. Today,

my neighbor is smoking weed,
and I am making shadow

puppets with my feet along
the wall we share. Tomorrow, I will sink

further into the painted ground, tell
someone else the story.


(Room On Fire, The Strokes, 2003)


BIO:  Lindsay received her MFA from The New School University in New York City and is currently a third year doctoral student in poetry at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she teaches creative writing and composition to undergraduates.

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