Nicole Walker


You have many choices, but only two present themselves
since July has sapped the regularly-gambled wheel spin—

(Vegas took our water & our money) First: track-trapped slut on the record player
reduces come to me come to me come to me into a steel barrier.

You won’t move that needle. I mean, you might move that needle
but not until it digs a salient scratch. Second choice is a sock

 in the driveway—blue with red dots dress sock
 with a hole. You don’t mend socks and you don’t wash

strangers’ socks littering your sidewalk. But this is no stranger
sock and you wonder, if you bring it in & pour gin over the toe

will sock-juices mimic vermouth well enough to cause an olive.
The refrigerator doesn’t think so, so you finger one out of the jar.

You drink your dirty martini and think of Manitoba. The song
is beginning to grow on you. Your foot taps and you oblige

the record player. Now it’s stuck on Space Cowboy. It’s only been a day
but you fill all the water bottles in the house and count the rotations

of the hummingbird, diving for honeysuckle even in this great big
barren city littered with socks and stuck on songs and men

and women who pull the shades open, make a dash for the car.
You should have filled the car with water, the bottles with

all the words you never got to say. They, sockless, could shake
them out as they drive, water-soaked into some more fertile land.