Worst Things First, by Mark Bibbins

A bag of thank-you notes fell

on me and that was enough

art for one day. Culturally speaking,

it was more like a year

in the floral trenches, kicked off

with a single boneless kiss.

Poor sad demon in his poor dead tree—

or is it he who pities me, cockshy

quasihero with a latex lasso,

taking forever to measure


the dimensions of his confinement.

Some other demons have smeared a flock

of sparrows on a blanket, the full filthy

price of a sky under which they smoked

their names. My prize is a set

of teeth, striptease at the nude beach,

audio files of decomposing stars

telling me, if they’re telling me

anything, that theory’s just another word

for nothing left to like.