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In Frank O’Hara’s “To the Harbormaster,” the speaker offers his addressee “my hull and the tattered cordage/of my will.” But in your poem, “We Have Bad Dreams,” the speaker willfully rejects the notion of fixed identity, equally the shoreline, locked lips, and swinging kelp. Similarly, in “Road to the Airport,” you operate from displacement: “Initials / for another found / inside the drawer,” “If one sees no land / nor hears the sea,” etc. In O’Hara’s poem, the speaker “wanted to be sure to reach you,” but what do your more isolated speakers want?

One night in Portland, long ago, I discovered a bare strip of pavement where I’d parked my car. The sign nearby read “No Surface Parking” and doubled my confusion. Returning to the bar I should’ve left hours before, my bartender bought another round and friends shared stories of their own tow trucks and impound lots. “Welcome to the club!” someone shouted across the room.

It’s convenient to pretend some events didn’t actually occur. There’s even a therapeutic value in pretending that the speaker of “Road to the Airport” and “We Have Bad Dreams” isn’t actually me. I think to myself, “If only I’d invented this irreparably fractured self.” But in truth these poems were conceived during the first weeks of my second and (ideally) final marriage. The failure of the first matrimony was devastating, and marrying twice involved an attempt to close one chapter of my life while welcoming the hope that accompanies a new beginning.

In this pair of poems, the fragmented, displaced speakers submit for the reader a pendulum swinging between suspension and continuance. The speakers want someone to say, “Your car got towed, so what? Move on!” The speakers want their bad dream to end without necessarily forgetting the dream itself, even craving acknowledgement and communion. The speakers want to love, be loved, and feel human again. The speakers miss their cars and want them back.