Skip to content →


I’ll go anywhere to leave you but come with me.

All the cities are like you anyway. Windows

darken when I get close enough to see.

Any place we want to stay’s polluted,

the good spots taken already by those

who ruin them. And restaurants we’d never find.

We’d rut a ditch by a river in nights

so long they must be cut by the many pairs

of wrong-handled scissors maybe god owns

and doesn’t share. I water god.

I make a haunted lake and rinse and rinse.

I take what I want, and have ever since what

I want disappeared, like anything hunted.

That’s what you said. Disappointment

isn’t tender, dried and wide instead.

The tourists snapped you crying,

and the blanket I brought was so dirty

it must have been lying around

in lice and blood that whole year we fought.

It wasn’t clear, so I forgot.

I haven’t been sleeping, next to you

twitching to bury my boring eyes.

The ship made you sad, and the ferry, and canoe.

All boats do.

from Human Dark with SugarFind it in the library

Copyright © 2008 Brenda Shaughnessy
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Brenda Shaughnessy Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.