by Mark Cugini

I see the same patterns
in whatever dumb moon
when we’re lying on
the beach or Machine
Gun Funking in the freak
museum. Will the whole fall be
another mammoth root
canal? I am not ready
for the woods—my heart
is a firefly hastily installed
on whatever was left
of the rest of August. So
I take you to Fulton Street
to bag groceries with Biggie—
everything looks the same
but it isn’t; everything is
underwater. Everything is
alone and all covered in
plankton. I am cleaning
your fishtank, but I am
not a water mammal—
your fish swim in circles
but they don’t remember
me. Your fish put on masks
and forget who I was. Your
fish are all assholes, and I
am an asshole, too,
vacuuming gravel and
filling you up with
the wrong sort of
water. When I am
alone in Brooklyn,
I am thinking of
you being alone
somewhere else,
thinking of clouds
and balloon animals,
thinking of popcorn
and gluten and quinoa
and other unfortunate
dietary restrictions,
but all of that is
just you, really—
you thinking of me and
thinking to yourself
‘how can one
good thing not
be exactly like

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