The patio is an island which floods in its sleep,
each room elopes with the bird
that smashed into a very clean window,
and the on-call physician is dying
for a hamburger at this unreasonable hour.
What exactly do you mean by brain memory?
Soon almost every ostrich will have
its own passenger. That’s what I mean.
She talks about lobsters and methamphetamine.
A few of them live in my esophagus,
she says. But that’s not always the case.
The problem is I’m obsessive and shaped
like a pear. I once knew a coffin maker,
was hired to clean his office building.
At night, long pink tubules descended
from the ceiling like snakes exchanging recipes.
(I did my job, I did my civic duty.)
In the morning, he staggered in
with a bowl of oranges, whistling.
My head was full of amoeba.
But the actual conversation escapes me.
Maybe that’s a good principle to live by:
if you get stuck, stay where you are,
say, pineapple, pineapple, pineapple.
Alex Bernstein’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Adirondack Review, The New England Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The West 4th Street Review, and elsewhere. A recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, he is an adjunct English professor and director of the writing center at Mildred Elley College.