Two Poems
Claire Donato

g-rated erotica

from the library. This man listens
to headphones, drinks Mountain
tips his head
like he's looking for something:
a ledger
maybe -- a girl
with a bun with
buttons down her


A notebook, its spiral uncoiling,
under his crooked nose. A bed in
the stacks
labeled "the Self." A picture
of K. Leroy Irvis:

the library! Here, I fast for Christmas: the desks
crack, & I see a thousand sandwiches (only my head
is heavy & I am not the pickle, only I don't know
which one is --


-- hi! Irvis says
-- hi! I say

& we go to the stacks where he
& places it between


the pages of the Oxford Dictionary of
New Words. the word is "Formosa" &

the books
fall down &
the drop
ceiling flickers


My father stretches his white
socks high. On Thursdays,
we eat Ma Po Tofu and look at water

not there. There
are bodies under his beach in Thailand. He is
crying; I fear this.

On mornings when we are alone, you can smell salt
burning on the stove in the kitchen. Try to hear
my father breathe. Listen to his sorrow

carry. The sand
I drank the water I was on the beach
, over
again & he is

caught under
sheets like waves
above him