Jeffrey Morgan


Jeffrey Morgan is the author of Crying Shame. His poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Pleiades, Rattle, Third Coast, and West Branch.

Another Man They Think I Am at Heart

I feel like I was born angry, and all my life I've been sliding
out of orbit. Nothing is on fire, but everything is,
you know? The uncleared table, the dirty cups and plates
like a city abandoned quickly, crumbs and buttery smudges, ghosts
where they touched their dinners with silver. The world is loud.
The stove's elements, red as four embarrassed faces—
like a family of them—is loud in its way. Four is a family.
Sometimes I get a little confused.
They burn and feel nothing. We do. You have to
cover them with tea kettles to hear their screams, right?
Gas is better—the blue hiss of even heat.
But that one was electric. I remember.
I cut a large garbage bag up with kitchen scissors
like one night becoming many, the past stumbling into the present
then back again as if it had forgotten something
in the other room. Why would a hero need a mask?
Elton John said it right: It's lonely out in space. I kept the fire
extinguisher close like my best girl. I was a bit of a tease.
I showed her off, the hard red tongue of her,
so stingy with her blizzard of kisses.

This piece is part of a book length work-in-progress about personae and empathy. The tone of this particular poem perhaps more than any other in manuscript is indebted to the work of Ai.