Detail from Birds Over 5th by Tim Frisch

Rob MacDonald

I Am Not Dead

for Wendy Xu

On the 4th of July,
instead of going
to the beach to see
the fireworks,

I am reading
Wendy’s book, but
the power is out,
and it’s beginning

to get dark
in the barn.
If I sit next to
the window,

I am allowed
to have what’s left
of the sun,
which is just enough.

I don’t make it
to the end,
but I get to the part
about thinking in the dark.

Wish You Were Here

You build a wishing well
and start charging
a 10-cent admission.

Your finest ideas
always pay for themselves
in alternate timelines.

You wake up one day
and everything is the same
except for the futures market—

papyrus on the rise.
If you learned anything
from board games,

it’s that pyramids
and paper money
are overrated.

The tour bus stops
in the middle of the desert
to let the elderly couple

surrender change
to the mythical water,
then wait, then claim

they heard the splash:
cool, safe, together
at the center of something.