When I find you, darling, in the night
curled on the rug in the living room,
insomniacal as the TV—
though the dog’s happy, the coffee cake’s happy,
the chamomile tea’s happy—
and you’re crying, and I ask what happened,
and you answer, “roadkill,”
for a moment I’m sure you mean that’s
what we are in the universe, because
that’s how each day makes us feel.
A clump of hair in a drain, pickings,
as the moon makes of the furniture an X-ray.
With my hand like a little paw,
I hesitate, then touch your shoulder.
Alan Michael Parker is Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English at Davidson College. He is the author of seven collections of poems, including Long Division, winner of the 2012 North Carolina Book Award, and three novels, including The Committee on Town Happiness (Dzanc Books, 2014). He has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, the 2013 Randall Jarrell Poetry Award, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. New work of his has recently appeared or will appear in American Poetry Review, The Believer, The New Republic, Slate, and The Yale Review. He directs the creative writing program at Davidson College, and is a Core Faculty member in the Queens University low-residency M.F.A. program. For more information, see: www.amparker.com.