Shane McCrae – Three Poems

Shane McCrae

Three Poems



Goodbye! I am penetrating
the buttonhole at my collar, and the front door
is as open and full of light
as a CAT scanner. When I close my eyes,

there is something wrong with my mind.
It’s not that I’m impatient. If anything,
I’m mispatient. I can wait for years
for the wrong thing to happen, as evidenced

by the sports wagon. An idea can’t
forgive itself, and at the end of a long day, one begins to feel
one has no choice. If the stars come out at all,
they come out on the other side of the roof.

I am drawing up plans
to build a house there, goodbye. The lumber yard
has no mother and no wife. My entire
suit is a clip-on. It’s not that I don’t love you.


You will forgive me for talking about myself
with the same words I use
to talk about you? such as: Our marriage isn’t working;
such as: You have [beautiful] hair.


Goodbye! I have tripped over my shoelaces
in my haste to be productive, and now
a coyote is licking my ear.
I was born in a country to which

such animals had not yet been imported. I am nervous
in equal measures, as a consequence
of my classical training and difficult adolescence. It’s not
that I’m depressed. I have good teeth,

though it’s hard to be comfortable
with the tongue of an animal, even
a friendly animal,
in one’s ear. I can imagine myself

in a better house, and I wonder, is that the reason
the world will not leave me alone? For whenever
I consider my loneliness, say,
really I am thinking about longing, which is more

like loneliness in a hang glider
than loneliness by itself. A coyote
is licking my ear. He has a large mouth and dentures
shaped like a dog’s teeth.


We are roused by bugles together
to decorate the Beaux Arts department store,
though the bugles themselves
are decorative. Is it safer to say

one of us is roused and the other afraid
to seem foolish? though neither of us knows
which is which. I regret
that our weekends are not clearer.


Goodbye! I am sopping up the pool
of whatever it was I now refuse to talk about, and soon
I will be on my way. My shirt, I have discovered,
is brittle, though praised fulsomely

in the washing instructions. Needless to say,
I do not wash it, but may I just say this? Divorce,
like marriage, is a failure of the imagination,
goodbye. I am crying my balls off.

Poem About a Car Made of Words

Blood came from places blood
wasn’t supposed to come from. Lower, beneath

the snow-toupeed branches, erasing themselves
all the way up. He stood to clean the bench about

which he’d had ideas, for which he was now suffering.
A fixture was applied, like a scar with a zipper.

A Short Note Explaining the Long Wait

I’ve put your name on a list
of possible donors. Now, the fun part’s guessing

which piece I’ve volunteered.
We are not

forgiving animals, like mice,
who will allow themselves

to terrify the same elephant again and again,
though we were the animals

who drew that cartoon in the first place, we were the animals
who shocked the elephant into submission

with enormous, mouse-shaped tasers.
The world is a friendly

or unfriendly place, depending on what you are willing to die for.
Yesterday, I spent

six hours calculating your hat size, and another six
resigning myself to a bag of headbands. You still

run, don’t you?
Oh, you are so obvious

I could cry. Come back home, lover.
Pour hot wax in my eyes.

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