Not Coupling for the End Times
I’ve been a poor technician of my desire.
One solution is to stay in motion
so the blur of trees-sky-road
becomes its own kind of scene.
Too often, I linger on friends’ porches,
hesitant to bike uphill into the night.
There is an end-times feeling
to the world lately, and it makes
the grass rustling in the sunset
seem like an extension of the mind.
Pet-sitting, I sleep
with a mournful-looking Vizsla
curled at my feet. She steals my sheets
and has eyes the same color as her coat.
My life is not without intimacy,
just not the coupling kind.
On the porch, we say that we’re
all animals, and that all animals
have souls. I say I don’t believe in ghosts,
or anything really, but as soon as I say this,
I know I’m bluffing—not that anyone
calls me on it. I don’t care
if my current companions are all temporary,
I’m not coupling just for these end times.
I often wish there was an off switch
to desire, but I’m content
to feel overwhelmed
by the amount of world there is to want,
even the bits that exist
with no regard for my beliefs.
The Dogs Downstairs
The dogs downstairs bark through the day,
waiting for my neighbor to come home,
who looks uncannily like Walter,
an ex-boyfriend of a college friend
I don’t talk to anymore.
I am jealous of the dogs. They know
who their person is. They split their day
between not-bliss and bliss.
This is my year of crying. I cry
eating omelets, next to my car
when it gets stuck in snow,
when I drop my computer on my foot.
The body responds so readily
to pain, while the mind
holds off, delays the full conception
of betrayal. Even after their end,
I retain the habits of old friendships,
buying candy with their preferences
in mind. When I return home,
the dogs downstairs bark furiously.
A Few of the Poems
went over to your place,
where they sat as quiet as priests—
of course you didn’t notice them.
You brushed your teeth, shaved,
straightened up your room.
I’d been working on this kind
of problem in my poems.
Yes, I made them with care, stealing
bits of sky, polishing them
to be as smooth as pond stones.
But they were so fucking quiet.
I sent an army of them to call on you,
but they just curled up
beneath the couch and jumped
into the laundry hamper—
mild-mannered, wishy-washy things,
unskilled at feats of pyrotechnics.
Over the years I’ve gotten set
in my ways, so let me
tell you a story of a small quiet person
who loved another
small quiet person—was the love
reciprocated, would you know?
Anna Mebel lives in Syracuse, NY, where she's an MFA candidate in poetry at Syracuse University. Her work has appeared in Metatron, Tin House Open Bar, Bodega Magazine, and is forthcoming in TAMMY and Juked.