The Threat of Happiness

by Rich Ives

Vigorously mewling wet humor loops surround themselves,
hide in the handsome vacancy in the oars,
and they eat and they eat themselves
until they are equally relevant.

I create understandings for what happens,
and I lay the metaphors on the table
and cut them in equal portions,

overly cautious with passion,
as if already married to a lawn chair,
until you have been correctly mistaken
for who you must become.

There could be a furnace and leaves digesting,
the awnings spilling the wrong rain,
softly scheduled,

one blue heron knitting an irrevocable gate to the cloudless sky,
kind of like talking to you when I’m listening.

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Award. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press–poetry), Sharpen (The Newer York-fiction chapbook), The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking-What Books) and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press–hybrid).