Devil’s Lake

Spring 2012 Issue

Hugh Behm-Steinberg: Relocation

Someday we’ll be farther south. Her husband tries to explain. The important thing was to stay up. The lights going out. Like how everything is both safe and uncautious as long as we’re driving. You’re wrong she says. I remember every argument. Every sad motel. Each greasy meal. I clipped your nails. The new house is like the old house and both of them are like shirts. Too close now to change them, like shirts.

How are they like shirts? he asks. The last window, the last suitcase. Distant and still. Driving into the city. As it seemed. As it was every word in his vocabulary. A bare light in the house, a dress. Several good clouds. I’ll name them after my children she says. The idea of dark. A new airfield. Midway between the earth and my home. Just like you said. Admitting light. Then to have small insects walk on me. To trace the length of summer storms. And rain on one side. Holes, or stains, or buttons missing, or they make you look fat, or it’s ridiculous to announce to the world what you did when you were sixteen when you’re forty. I didn’t know this would be a good place to be, she says.

a photo of the author, Hugh Behm-Steinberg HUGH BEHM-STEINBERG is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and the forthcoming The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press). His poems have appeared in such places as Crowd, VeRT, Volt, Spork, Cue, Slope, Aught, Fence, Swerve, dirt, ditch, Nap, Forge, esque, and Zeek, as well as in a few places with more than one syllable. He teaches writing at California College of the Arts, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven. More from this issue >