by Strummer Hoffston

Two poets are having dinner
at the end of a long, tedious marriage.

One of them believes in the modern idiom,
“pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional,”

though he never explicitly says so.
His indirectness is the trait his wife

most despises, and throughout the meal
she turns to the dog 

who shakes as he dreams of pleasure
he fears does not exist

in the physical world,
one so comprehensive

he can accept knowing nothing
about how it works or where it comes from.

At this distance from what thrills him
he becomes his most authentic self,

acting on impulse, following the course
of a Galilean moon out the front door

into a quadrant of the galaxy
spare and unfamiliar.

He continues on
through all the hallucinatory matter

that buoys him, rebuilds his sense of self,
his urge to—

“There,” says the husband.
“You can have whatever you want.”