In my cupboard is a collection of coffee mugs, designed in the eighties,
sold at tourist stands and second hand stores. Hairline-fractured
ceramics of soon to be submerged skylines: HOUSTON
in red script over the outline of a city
the future will dive to strip copper from. I live now
in a house nestled in a city nestled in fields of wheat, corn, and soy.
Far from the coasts I imagine a connection to the ocean
like someone in a long distance relationship. We aren’t together enough
for me to construct it as a subject. It’s beautiful mostly in its potential
to consume, like all the great romances. Here in the middle
the biome shifts faster than anywhere, but the land stays where I leave it.
I was born with a mouth of spring-thaw earth flecked with arsenic
and red clover and maybe there is a sea cliff somewhere
in my blood but fear is what roots me. To love and imagine only the worst,
dream of my dog trapped on a roof after the flood, is just like me.
I don’t even have a dog. I keep sketches of cities
I’ll never know: A watercolor of deco neon-sign glow in smooth walled Miami,
fuzzy photo of New Orleans’ feather-strewn streets, postcards
from a Manhattan gallery with a red rotary phone on a pedestal that calls dead poets,
a print of the ship-shaped Amsterdam museum tilting into the break.