On our first date, she leaned in between tapas And whispered, When you die, I will bury you With silver coins over your eyes. And I fell in love like water needs water. Leading me down the hall to her bedroom, She turned to me, You will drink your whiskey until you bloat Like a corpse in the desert, and you will not stagger Or feel your precious buzz. And later, after squealing into her pillow: Your people will blame you for everything— There will be floods and money trouble and armed bandits. Her prophesies stuck me like bee stings near the heart. You will call out to God, and he Will procrastinate like the mail, She squawked while giving birth. I held her hand, cut the cord. I love you was all I could say As the mid-wife tried not to look Amused and sewed her up. Still, I clung to her. Kissed my new six-pound Gypsy, Marveled at her dark eyes and olive skin, But she, too, eyed me like a suspect in a line-up. And one night, heart full of curses, I told her in my dirty talk You will be the roach under a leather soled shoe, A skid mark of a Pontiac GTO. She only smiled, blessed me: You will be a constant stranger— Feel like a phantom limb on a quadriplegic Longing to kick at flies. And so we sifted the sand of the day Watched the city’s bad advice on TV, Ate TV dinners on our TV trays. Our nights were dry mouths. Again and again, cursed the day Each of us was born, Dreamed of caravans and guitars, pickpockets, Splinters and thorns, honeysuckle with gnats, And one-winged birds pulling our dead weight down.

TRAVIS WAYNE DENTON lives in Atlanta where he is the Associate Director of Poetry @ TECH as well as a McEver Chair in Poetry at Georgia Tech. He is founding editor of the literary arts publication, Terminus Magazine. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies. His second full-length collection of poems, When Pianos Fall from the Sky, will be published in 2012 by Marick Press.