Better Weather

by Derek Graf

—for E.

Everywhere this midsummer vanity:
half-furnished apartments, the shot

mutt and the dumpster it rots in, gutted
pigs, broken axles, coke-lines and stop

signs humid with rust. A few months
until this is over, but at six a.m. we’re falling

out of hope again: we take asylum
in naked diction, dumb agnosticism,

and when you say the rain’s fading I think
it’s fading everywhere. What is friendship?

To cover your body with mine and stall
this rupturing? Elliott, I have one belief,

tenuous, yours to thrift, that though we are
given lungs, a little cash, crowded bars,

and steel pipes to shatter each streetlight,
these daily ruins are our own doing, born

of unrest and weak ambition like smoke
inside a prison. Listen: we could say

the weather’s clearing and so on, but isn’t
that a hopeless kind of vanity even for us?

Derek’s poems have appeared in Portland Review, The Boiler, and Radar Poetry. His chapbook, What the Dying Man Asked Me, is available from ELJ Publications. He lives in Oklahoma.