Psalm 299

Before the Gorge

Oh swollen refuge, stuffed safety, 
find me with the wrappers in my lap. Find me 
still in the parking lot. 
Bless the beans and bless the beef. I cannot 
afford the chicken. Bless the crispy 
and bless the soft. 
May this not be 
last night’s meat. 
May I not find 
any bones. 
May the freeze 
machine be singing.

My enemies are not 
anxious enough. They stop
when they are full. Whatever eats at them
—everything unsaid in a marriage, fragile like employment, like the ecosystem—
nibbles. I bite 
big because it all consumes me.

I am not married to my enemy. 
I am not married to my enemy. 
But she knows which locks
are old. Which doors give.

Ants scatter the bedroom. 
Weeds mock the grass. 
Meals wait 
on a calendar. Our words 
have bones in them.

I know what is lost
in divorce—
tax deductions, charging chords—
but what cannot be? Guilt? Shame?
A sense of burrowing even further 
into a malformed loneliness, 
growing odder and uglier 
and more addicted each day 
to a new leather glider?

Oh greasy ballast, tangy center,
you alone can settle me down,
If I have to drive
my shit away from our home—the home
we purchased together—I will need
twice this much to keep
from tumbling into the atmosphere.

Stay warm in your paper.
Sour cream, zing. Lettuce,
crunch. I will not chew
thoughtfully. I will scoop with my fingers
what falls. 

I never know 
whether all this worry, this 
what if
will pull me into its orbit. 
Or I know it will, 
but when and where and how far 
will I be from you,
warm paper, red sauce. 
Light over
my dome light, I will cram 
what I can,
tortillas, tomatoes, beans, beef, nacho cheese, sour cream,
help me

TJ Fuller writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. His writing has appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Juked, and elsewhere. He can be found online @fullertj.

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