Ten Poems by Neeli Cherkovski

I'm eating the furniture, friends arrived, amazed,
they don't know what to say, preferring to sit
on remaining chairs, whispering, "what's wrong
he's been depressed, but this we didn't expect!"
they thought I'd lie down on the central valley floor
kissed with rhubarb, cotton, seedless grapes,
bathing in asteroidal light.

I'm alone, fearful of never finding
that once crawled on my skin.

the credit furniture department doesn't offer
antique love, or dispensations on death
of the bison,
but I am bisoning the afternoon,

walking beside a famous bay, preoccupied
with loss of love, needing to know how soon
I'd become completely a thing of wood.

I'd wish no sutras on my friends,
nor easy enlightenment, simply
to wade in a secret cove, find abalone, starfish, anemone,
breathing early California.

I digest dining room tables
and television sets,
stoves and microwave ovens
are not exempt.
yesterday I ate several telephones
and heard lonesome operators, wailing.

today I'm busy devouring the back door
wanting to know
who I'll be
in the vast conspiracy.