the clouds that strafed us
drove us apart forever
not even our smartphones worked
in that absolute nightmare
I was cast away
to wait with a nursery
of flight attendants
one of whom tearfully
that we would all
though the mainland
and the hostile sky was
gathering fresh gray
squadrons of moisture
you were with your family
so my first call
was to my mother
to prepare her tactfully
for the all-but-official divorce
with no fault
but the San Andreas
like god’s own
flooding the kitchen
until no repairman
could stem the flow
of that wrathful water
Double or Nothing
The woman who needed two of everything
married a pair of Siamese twins
then got divorced to renew her vows
with the adjusted emphasis
of retrospect. The first cookie was
only one half of the diptych
she had planned to lick with the palate
of her forked tongue. Looking before
and after gave her the proper closure.
Open and shut. Pain and pleasure.
Something and nothing. Triumph and surrender.
Given and taken. The leapfrog effect
of an unfinished wager. God and the Devil.
Guilt and innocence. Falling behind
and drawing level. Feeling equal
or never feeling a thing at all.
Fearful symmetry or gentle
adequacy. She would not trouble
to explain the single foible
which made everything else a struggle.
“Double or nothing” was her motto,
and that was that. Nothing but double.
Brad Buchanan’s writing has appeared in nearly 200 journals, and he has also published two book-length collections of poetry as well as two academic books. His third book of poetry, The Scars, Aligned (A Cancer Narrative), is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He is currently in remission from lymphoma.1