Jim Gustafson

Poem with the word “Love” in it

convoluted the word “Love”
means nothing until held
down to the ground

not against its will
that’s something else
more closely related to war

which has nothing
to do with “love”
and is not convoluted.

Love is the oldest
plate in a china cabinet.
the one revered, never used.

taken out occasionally
carefully to dust
doesn’t even get to play

in the Thanksgiving game.
Remembers its last bath.
Adores being worshiped

hates being alone.
Was part of a full set
given as a wedding gift

to a grandmother.
Got dispersed
after the grandmother

went to some place called
Autumn Woods.
death came.

One plate, they say,
was thrown
in a kitchen fight

after the grandpa got drunk
and went over to the next farm
to see the widow lady.

made the set uneven.
seven stitches, to close the cut
scared grandpa’s face forever

with truth.
three generations later
another plate, same pattern,

is touched with a soft cloth.
convoluted this word


The AC guy is changing a coil outside my door.
He’s playin’ Tobie Keith Should a Been a Cowboy
on his phone. He told me his puppy shit blood
this morning. Vet said the dog needs surgery.
AC guy says he hasn’t got the funds.
I know he wants me to pop for his pup,
wants me to give my money to his dog.
I have a dog. I would pay a lot for my dog,
to not shit blood, but his dog?
Sort of makes me feel like God.