Margaret Christakos: Two Poems



To detail multitudes we

the distance between brow and

lip To detail multitudes we

zoom To detail multitudes you

count arrange by height I

weigh To detail multitudes we

think in colour shade pallor

age To detail multitudes I

squint I size up You

recall who was standing where

and in what footwear I

think in the key of

squeals and groans.


I call in my version

of events I try to

be specific and unflinching I

report You offer as much

information as you possibly can

for the good of all

concerned To secure a positive

outcome we think it through

in private and then visit

their website You swallow your

pride and fess up You

feel you should You want

to live with yourself after

all To sort out whose

hands held the weapon you

try pantomime in your backyard.


I push you into the fence and you cry uncle.


I throw the glove at

your knee You lose You

need to get down to

the station in haste Go

now so details stay crisp

persist in sequence Leap Let

your conscience breathe sleep get

some shut-eye First thing in

the morning get dressed Something

comfortable yet clean Skip coffee.


Show up at the front

desk Simply say I want

to help as much

I can begin to detail

multitudes We do the deed

to redeem Clarify my allegiance

You were mistaken it was

a really fun night Once

is enough suffice will

have to




These come to me days and nights and go from

me again, / But they are not the Me
 myself. – WW


We drive for half hour come to barns with

cows a merry go round. En route we’d passed

a falls. Boats bobbed. We opted to

stop. You extracted basket from trunk unpacked

picnic. Ants gushed out small hill near

my sandal. I squished many torsos.

Little legs wafting eyelashes ephemeral

loss. Another roadtrip we sought RV lot. You

hoped to trade up. I came along for the french

fries. Inside polyurethane surfaces smelled, everything

glued shut. I suggested sleeping in there might induce

asthma. You looked over my baseball cap nostrils

twitching. For once I thought maybe we didn’t make such

a good match, me, your straw. About twenty thousand

fans made a noise mass riot in action. I

couldn’t see players’ faces yet felt

seats surge. That was some drum kit, triple

drum I think. You’d stuffed toilet paper into ear

cavities drank gin cooler waved at me

from time to time. Thumbs up. Thumbs way up.

Gravel path gradually lost grit soon we rode tar.

About two thirds distance across bridge

hatchback stalled. You started shrieking at guy next to

us, at me. You said I resembled my baby

picture. Were not in control of your slurs. I

threw up next tried to climb out of car okay

taxi happened by. So I solved

all that needed solving that

evening. You got left for once, ha! A pinkish

spring day about 2 p.m. deep nasturtium beds

flamed. Sky flickered blue. Kid waddled near with

balloon dog. Thing about balloon dogs they don’t

last. Two adults hovered tad angry. I figured

it was good thing I couldn’t get preggers. You

scrape water with paddle simply hack into

river pray wooden hull shoots forward

slingshot. In quiet bar waiter lights our

tea light offers free martinis glass dish

cashews. Several women strip writhe. You pass me

proxy I sign in extra-winding script

tug at my neck until tie relents. Thank god

I whisper. All these people fit their times

all these places held form. All these events

hoisted away from my body a keyboard

I’d again moisten from afar.


from Multitudes, Coach House Books 2013, used with permission from the press and the author.