ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!" | next poem →

Beta Waves Are Not A Part Of The Ocean

And We Prefer The Ocean

Jennifer Metsker

You tell us there is so much love,
the sun exploding on the sea,
the viridescent little stalks
squeezing through the earth,
the smell of rot and plenty,
but this room has three blue walls
and an opening for spies.
We do not go gently into a night
without prime time,
                                              circle k,
                                 coffee stains.

It’s ontological,
this rumor that the television must be on,
that it must box
violent voiceboxes at dawn.

All bets are off when the wailing begins.
We are bloated by the orderlies in
their algae bloomers when
the gods come whirling,

We must divide and carry
cleaning products to shout the grass stains
out of sad tigers who lost the ball game
to an after school sugar-coated
snack. There’s no escape
from being a tidy cat.

There’s nothing special about
extra leg room in a desert.
The nurses commandeer the remote
because these cathodes must not
bust open pharmaceutical

bunches,           clusters,
I have stayed in hotels that were kinder
though no sleep inside their basket-weave
coverlets either, ice buckets cupped over ears,
yet louder squabbles here, dynamic rinse cycle,
as we clasp our hands for egg-shaped
particles dancing sideways
and the cross-hatched grass beneath
a sale on a wheelbarrow,

          feed your lawn,           feed it.

It's April out there
in the yards of all our neighbors.
They must be dead by now,
every lawn we own.

Today only, one day only, epic
tale, tidal pull. Pixels churn
and paw litter, fresh curls mustachio
over cgi mouths,
                                              feed your lions.

We are cat lovers
as we float,
the breakers like heavy blue
                                              mall cops.

Which heart breaks down doors?
Can it be a cavern of fear
or a mental cartwheel
or an idling engine?
They say that lions don’t purr
because they roar.

There’s an ocean at the end of the corridor
where the eyes have little squares in their apertures
and the squares have four pink eyelids.

White noise would be a blessing in disguise—
we could sing about waves
that are not                     nature,

Electric string chorus swells into
smell lines and unhappy meals.
We have not forgotten           the drive thru
is open.
There’s a little window here
but no way out

for this                               hatchback
of sad tigers growing sadder.

Jennifer Metsker’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Sycamore Review, Cincinnati Review, Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, Seattle Review, Whiskey Island, Nightblock, Banango Street and many other journals. She also has an essay coming out in the anthology on mental illness Show Me All Your Scars by In Fact Books. She teaches writing at the Stamps School of Art and Design.

ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!" | next poem →

ISSUE TEN: Satyrs Yell "Me!"

Charlotte Pocock
   Spring: 1943

Carrie Redway
    Dial Back the Operator

Jennifer Metsker
   Beta Waves Are Not A Part
     Of The Ocean And We Prefer The Ocean

Doug Paul Case
   A Real Thigmotropism

Katharine Diehl
   This is wisdom

Chris Campanioni
   Status Update

Kenneth Jakubas
   The Infield Rule

Karen Neuberg
   Memory Riding Herd on My Heart

Robert Hamilton
   Few Yachts Short of a Regatta

Jessica Goody
   The Selkie

Sandy Feinstein & Keysha Whitaker