Douglas Collura



Some coworkers of mine pool for Powerball.
A lock, they figure, being forty-five strong
and the odds only two hundred million long.
They plan their escape. “I’ll give two weeks,”
says one. Another: “I’ll give the finger.”
“I’m going to buy my sister a beige Caddy,”
says a third showing great theoretical generosity.
Disappointment drops upon all like a fishnet.
My little blond friend sits particularly glum.
She prayed for days. Says, “I’m a good person.”
And me: “The universe won’t notice. Too busy
expanding.” She: “Ten more years here. I’ll die.”
Me: “Dark energy drives it, whatever that is,
which the mind sees and the eye can’t blink away.”



Greylisted in 1952

Nobody called to tell me
I’d become unknown.
Nobody called at all.
I smoked a fog and counted
down to nothing.
A friend tried to wake me in his arms.
“This will pass,” he said.
He did, anyway.
I emceed a telethon.
Chased third world health
down the halls of the U.N.
Never trusted people—
casually, automatically—again.
A premature anti-fascist.
Who knew you could hate
evil too soon. On beaten
streets, under sorrowful skies,
against Spain’s Nazi bombers
and the lyncher’s noose,
I signed whatever I signed.
Your secrets are your business.
My soul is mine.



Lunchtime, we snuck to the Sheraton
separately. She said she’d wondered
what I’d be like. Disappointing, I half hoped.
I didn’t want us to have a long life.

Nothing rivaled that first Christmas-party
lunge across tipping bar stools.
Two coworkers overleaping their vows
in a bomb blast of only dropped glass.

Why didn’t I ever think I should be sorry?
Where’s the part of me that’s more of a man?
Everybody who loves me, I love back.
Nobody who knows me knows it all.

She microwaves with coworkers in the pantry.
I keep to the internal stairwell. Check my watch
to know what I’ll know again fifteen
minutes from now, fifteen minutes from then.