The President Declares Disaster
Sometimes he wonders if he signed
Up for this, presiding over rising
Disappointment, winds, ruin.
Sometimes his sleeves are rolled,
Other times he stares down tornadoes,
Squiggle in his brow.
One day he wants to say no.
Why always yes.
Why is it always so much.
Why does steel have to twist that way.
Tree, do not bend. Sinkhole, why sink.
Tsunami, why tsu. Malaise. Hunger—
It's all yes. It's all quake. Your stomach,
My son, is a disaster. Your life, your car,
Your lovely wife. Disasters.
Your children, your love, your flab,
Your droop. Disasters. Your leanings,
Your desires, your interpretations of scripture.
Disasters. That beard. Simpleton's haircut.
Please, he says, bring the paper so I can
Sign. Disaster. The way you treat
Your mother, the music you listen to,
Love you make. The sad chemistry
Of your breath. The dollops. The stain.
Radar blips. Comma, unblinking,
Spins toward us all.
He takes to his plane,Fistful of souvenir pens. Refuel in the air.
There's no place to land.
Chris Haven's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mid-American Review, and Hotel Amerika. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.