The balmy faucet sounds of plastic.

            There--in their room--their upholstered bodies they learned under the ground
            glass their roomy temporal selves--a perpetual tense--holding in of a cough.

There is a fly a housefly no a firefly a lightning bug no a nymph or mayfly
a mayfly to be sure of nothing else on my foot to be sure I imagine a fly
I imagine a fly on the cover bridge top of my foot the false yes the false
front of my foot off-centered longing climbing no an unassuming amble
no a ramble of no a ramble lost disoriented sweating the wings of the wings
like sweat sketchy sweat-like silhouette-like wondering of wondering why
hasn’t this poor bastard cast me aside wondering why does it speak does
it speak English like aluminum voice talcum breath crying asking why hasn’t
he kissed me goodbye kissing me goodbye my left hand cannot reach cannot
a mental note remind my wife of the stains the stains on my foot are its tears

And there is a dignity in
people--over-combed; a
commonplace growl; for no
reason, my husband Hero
and I communicate: a plastic pair
of pneumatic tubes ambling. I am
the sleeve over skin, the skin
over skin, the on-skin weight;
a rind over a peel of
well-behaved caterpillars.

He can't be nothing but a mistaken pen mark that she rubs away, only a drop, of saliva
and thumb. Had that not, after all, been love?

My eyes allow my eyes would allow but my head will not allow my eyes
see the outline of my glasses see the lens my eyes see the frame look
the lens see the ceiling moving counter-clockwise trying to catch trying
to catch each wing of its silhouette I imagine the laugh the glass laugh
like glass seeing me staring looking at me reflecting a mental remind
my wife, to wipe down the dream is hanging off the edge of the headboard

My husband Hero and I
write: he with his left, though
born right-handed, and I
with my right, though born
left-handed. It is the proper
thing to do. My husband, brilliant
as the water undone and without
pockets, as I am the ad-liberist
because I am before without
pockets, collecting a line--night
paving the joy of our--collecting
around and before rumor’s dishwashing
cabinetry because the jug
is broken. I cannot mend it.

To turn around and look at me; opened up napkins lain across an entire table.
Looking for someone; someone is lost inside the hand-paw like a broken shoelace
and plants growing on roofs.

I made my wife love with my hand we touch the same hand that writes
awkward I'm not left-handed by choice left-handed by consequence
my wife left-handed she touches me right-handed though left-handed
by choice hand-picked I liked to say rather think or think since I can’t
hand pick I think or see I make love to my wife with fingertip palmed
forearm elbow eyes shouldered always with my eyes I can see us
making love by choosing to make by mercy make love by charity make love
by melancholy make love by understanding my left arm and my eyes
can move and nothing else out of curiosity or wandering or cause or longing
or climbing or rambling or ambling or mistake or laughing no I can't cast you
aside or kiss or kiss you goodbye or say goodbye my lips won’t move my breath
can’t run out of wanting to move and say I don't want to cast you aside

I once saw a man drop in a field, dead.
What a convenient diaper.

And, she felt glad that he'd done it, thrown it away, because she'd liked his good opinion, so much--not having a sense of fairness.

I've come true the entryway with everything of ours while we shared
the kitchen and the cockroaches and the fog showed little interest like
an axe we cried left with one great big FUCK YOU in our mouths where
is my pen I don't know you're lying I'm lying yes you're always lying
to me every time I ask you something oh here it is now I know you're not lying

It is the proper thing to do,
I think. The love notes I
write too hard, like breathing
hard sleep. But, what kind
of a dream is it? And even
now: who should be
coming along? I would look
if he told me to, save for his
own voice--inside--where I’d
want to be and hear myself: what
could my voice sound like
inside of him? Could my
voice sound?

They, who think me hostile, obstinate or misanthropic--how unjust they are. They do not know the secret reason why I appear that way. It’s not possible for me to say: “Speak louder. Shout, I am deaf.” And how can I live if they--who are many--believe I no longer possess the one sense that should be perfect to a higher degree in me, than in others?

Old men do not slump. They curtain. Hands in pockets. Nose in the air.

After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, Michael J Pagan (hastily) returned to college, earning his B.A. and M.F.A. from Florida Atlantic University's Creative Writing program. His poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and interviews have appeared in Bridle Path Press, Screw Iowa, The Rumpus, The Northville Review, DIAGRAM, Eunoia Review, Squawk Back, The Prompt Literary Magazine, Spork Press, and is forthcoming in and/or Magazine, BorderSenses, and Dialogo. He currently resides in Deerfield Beach, FL with his wife and daughter where he continues work on his poetry manuscript and first novel.