Houston Experiment #3. and something else by W.F. Roby


for Emily,
who worried with me when Deepwater Horizon blew its top,
or, rather, its bottom

Trust fund, trust fund! What egg
un-nested, what fun, rusted plaque
and all. A stolen glance at legs
or cheat of a creamy back -
a short dress with hope at hem, delirious.
One morning’s magic, a green release,
as wise, as flighty, as hilarious
as seabirds’ clumsy mating. A tease
of oily feathers. Early disaster!
The pump’s main squeeze, the siphon
belching, tar sheets forever after.
And darkness on the Gulf, her master
moon in sickness grieves a tide,
foam and sea all white alike in plaster.
All this and coal, electric cigarettes
line out the psychedelics, mushroom
clouds in memory, 1,000 shelters’ minarets
useless now in Houston proper. What doom?
What window burst across the room,
all rainbow shades and algae bloom,
a spider-crack patiently at the loom.
Yes, yes; what I assume, then, Houston shall assume.


An Informal Wake-up Kind of Kiss.
It is the light of your mind
“cold and planetary,” yes, its trees
black as branches at sunset
against the dark-blue sky,
clouds all cotton, my favorite hour.
It is your alabaster teeth
strong as traps in the snow,
hardened to punctuation.
Maybe your skin that seems
like a shark’s skin, underwater,
flashes of the sun flashing
first half a mile, then three-quarters, even
a mile beneath waves. Or
maybe it is your eyes,
scraps of flame, or
how I imagine your weight on me
heavy and breathless
like the air before a thunderstorm.
I do not know,
but like a lime cut and squeezed
an hour ago
you linger in the room,
scent sharply carved, in bloom.

W.F. Roby is a poet and artist living in Texas. His work has appeared in 32 Poems, Tri-Quarterly and storySouth.