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Charish Halliburton
In Our Bed

When we're high you say things like:
"Our reality is not a thing
but a relationship."
I will repeat this, but louder
and putting emphasis on the wrong words.

I don't mind your philosophy
so long as you know we're individuals
and I get my own pillow after our
romp and laugh.
Other than that, I'm not an extremist.

When I remind you of this, your eyes
get shiny and lost
like you're taking inventory of all that's
absent in the world and present somewhere else.
I tell you that there's nothing to the past;
that we're just dressing today in old clothes.

We romp and laugh until tears come
to my eyes and I scream:
"Stop, stop, I don't want to be synchronic!"
You let me take my pillow
and retreat to my side of reality.
With a smile you let me settle.


When I was younger I wanted to be a rugelach.
I wanted to say something in Yiddish for once.
I am not Jewish, but I know words like putz.
I have known a schmuck who was constantly
schnicker and who drove his mother meshuganer.
I wanted to be a rugelach with old world cinnamon,
Brooklyn apples and chopped walnuts.

“Eat a rugelach bubula, they’re your favorite.”
Were I a rugelach, I could have fed my
grandchildren treats from the “old country.”
We could have sang old Hebrew songs and noshed
“If you come visit Nana, I’ll tell you stories
about life growing up in a shtetel.”
I would be a treat for the children.

Sartre’s Waiter

“I’m always standing
next to trash cans.
Maybe it says something
about me.”

That is what my friend says.
And suddenly,
I don’t know her anymore
What else is “It” saying about her?

Weeks later, in a pet store,
I look for training pads.
“Are you finding everything all right?”
a girl in safari wear asks me in

the same affected way a newsman
might say:
“The armed suspected made off with
both speakers and a wheelchair.”

The same affected way a poet
might read these lines:
“You fell from a sky as blue
as kitten eyes and sank, writhing,
in a black abyss.”

“No, I’m looking for training pads
for my rabbit.”
I explain how I let my rabbit
shit everywhere.
“Maybe that says something
about me.”

And I think about my friend
how she always stands
next to trash cans
That’s now her.
What else is “That” saying
about me?

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