Daniel Khalastchi: Three Poems

Our feature of Danny Khalastchi’s poetry concludes today with three new poems from Homewrecker, a recently-completed manuscript. We’re happy to be the first residence of these poems, and look forward to seeing where they’re published again in the future. Many thanks to Danny, to Tupelo Press, to Marc Rahe, and to all of you who stopped by to read along. — AS



Year-End Reconciliation Adjustment:


With the lights on, I walk back toward the
linen cabinet and remove a set of off-white


stoneware dishes and a pair of your proportionately
unfitting underwear. Next to the front


door of my apartment is a crude stick and yard-
sack body I recently made from


the hair I kept removing from the bathtub when
you were still sleeping here. The body doesn’t


stand properly so I tape it to a curtain and
make inappropriate hand gestures


around the bottle of whiskey I’ve fastened
just below its belt. At a calculated distance,


the body looks enough like me to let
the scene play out—there is its thick drawn


beard; its dead robin for a heart; its
mirror glued to its right hand reflecting


the real me, wearing your brassier, chafed and red
along the shoulders. It is more difficult than


I imagined to be wearing your clothes and this
faux rabbit-fur wig, but since you moved on to


your new husband, what else am I to do? Holding
the dishes in my hand, I throw the first salad


plate and say, acute sexual misfire! I throw the oval
serving tray, six misguided cereal bowls, a cup


with a state’s inglorious motto stenciled in gold
lettering between images of citizens and their often flooded


levy, but nothing ever breaks. One of the windows
behind the body starts to shake and someone calls


my cell phone to talk about a party. I take off
the wig and smell the still-whole terror of my living


space. There are fish under the washing machine in my
basement and that will make me famous. I am sorry


I never took anything from you or your belief
in me. The night isn’t here. Won’t ever now


come. For the record, if they ask, I will say this
was always the case.




The Hysterical Likeness:


I.


Outside this basement
window is a second
window that looks
directly at a



II.


box. The box contains



III.


something not
worth much



IV.


of anything. I want
you to open the box, but
you don’t answer



V.


my messages. There
have been times
these last seven-
teen days where



VI.


I’ve wondered how
I got this weight-
lifting set or why



VII.


I’ve been drinking
my mother’s Robitussin
mixed with all



VIII.


this scotch. I have
in my hands two
tranquilizers. They



IX.


do not help
me sleep. I take
them with me
to the gas station



X.


and think about
the likelihood of
problematic communication
in the age of caged
physical



XI.


contact. You do not read



XII.


these. You do read
these but you do not wish to



XIII.


respond. You do wish



XIV.


to respond but
the effort to do
so is speared rust
in your chest. O-



XV.


kay. You never asked



XVI.


for this animal. But
what are we together if



XVII.


not that?




You Have The Right To Make Mistakes — And Be Responsible For Them:


Your new husband calls and says
you are getting off in the bathroom to
my landlord’s letter detailing the issues
I’ve had recently when trying to balance
hope and bulimic indifference. The con-


versation is brief, but we agree to meet that
night in elaborate costume near an
unimpressive statue you had erected in
the graveyard. Hunched beneath a flowering
willow, I wait for your man as a man in


waiting. I am dressed like a misfired
piston rod from a specific car you once
buried in a telephone pole. There isn’t any
evidence, but I know it is you directing
the motorcycle—your husband, his


knees—as it tunnels toward me in the
dark, weak-breasted and fragrant. He doesn’t
hit me but he doesn’t not try to. When we
finally come face to face in our hats, the rust
of my metal chinstrap is lost in his


plumage. You have dressed him as
a bird, or he has dressed as you asked
him to as a bird, or he isn’t a bird but
I can’t split the difference. Taped to his
chest is a sealed statement you’ve written that


we aren’t allowed to read until someone
unlocks our wet leatherette handcuffs. I won’t
go into detail, but when I finally free my hands and
examine your correspondence, I am not shocked
to see the following words assembled with


authority: reasons, to, considering, behavior, and made
it very clear this isn’t something you can handle
. Your
new husband is a medic on leave. He wants to
tell me the ways you’ve made him have you, but
instead I stay focused on a Randy Newman


song about scattering loss. If we had a
boat, I say, we could tremor this city for a televised
escape
. Your husband, poor thing, doesn’t
understand the metaphor.


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