One by one the arborvitae fall, shallow-rooted thunderstruck,
the aluminum ladder under the deck entangles in clover.
Gimme a fork, she said. He said, you can poke out your eye just as easy with chopsticks.
Tigers are roosting in the elms outside, you can see them shaking the branches,
quarrelsome and bitter, their nests of bark and shredded ringmasters.
The building leaks, sleeping children drop from the windows.
I once wore a gabardine suit with a Homburg hat
until the chrome began to tarnish and the wheels came off.
Spaghetti, she said. Spaghetti, he said. Then they went to bed.
We put hand-lettered signs on our front door that say 1st Class Coach,
Public Park, and Curb Your Dog.
A wheat field in Nebraska is the source of half the world’s nylon underpants.
A puddle formed by a leak in the gabardine has spread.
The tigers are wearing stolen leotards and quarreling about who lost the keys to the Buick.
Chrome and blister will be required to blend the spaghetti.
We sat on the deck eating clover with chopsticks, bark with a knife and fork.
Just one little space in arbor vitae and rivers flow through your brain.
Toni Hanner's poems appear in Yellow Medicine Review, MARGIE, Fault Lines, Calyx, Gargoyle, Tiger's Eye, and others. She is a member of Lane Literary Guild's Red Sofa Poets and Port Townsend's Madrona Writers. She has two books out in 2012 — a chapbook of surrealist poems called Gertrude, published by Traprock, and The Ravelling Braid, published by Tebot Bach. She is married to the poet Michael Hanner and lives in Eugene, Oregon.