When I started my downward
slide it had his name on it.
Katherine said, It’s the Suicide
Express. In cursive like “Donna”
or “Sally” on the side of a chipped
boat in a weedy lot
behind a defunct “repair shop”
by the Wabash River. It even
has a bed of grass and
weeds sprouting from its dirt-strewn
hull. Bed! Yikes.
Don’t say that word. With his
name. I texted him and said
there was a golf course
behind me at this
Kansas hotel that I was
forbidden to run on. What
I meant was, You are
a golf course I’m
forbidden to sleep with.
On the other side of the abandoned
boat repair shop were
giant sheds for sculls that
the rowing team used
and the steep wood-planked
ramp I ran up and down
sometimes for putting
in the boats. That was Indiana. That
was years ago. But loneliness
was a place I hove
close to. Even all those years
with children. In my giant
toe-box running shoes, I
visited parks I never showed them.
Now they are gone. And for
the short-term I am living away
from the graveyard
of their childhoods. It’s the
natural order of things
for them to go. Why is it
I can’t shake my disconsolation?
My husband visits me during my visiting-
writer job in Kansas. And I shake
all over. Because with my
pumpkin and my two bouquets
of mums, sunflowers, and
eucalyptus, my weird “instant”
and Pamela’s baking mix
(but no bourbon or sherry, thank God),
in the upgraded
hotel “apartment,” I am returning
to what I’ve craved. To live alone.
To wait for the right man.
A man, dark and sparkling, Adderall-
is inscribed on the boat
of my undoing, for example—to come
along so we can
settle down and have a child. What is his
name but Grief? Loss of the job
I held and loved for
years; of my treasured father; of
Eleanor and Lucy, my daughters.
DANA ROESERis the author of The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed, recipient of the 2013 Juniper Prize for Poetry, as well as Beautiful Motion: Poems and In the Truth Room, both winners of the Morse Poetry Prize. She received an NEA fellowship in 2007. Recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and Green Mountains Review.