Slides (Interpreted by Nancy) by Nancy Kangas



There's milk gone down sweet

There’s milk gone down sweet,
milk back up sour. The nip of urine.
There’s cigarette smoke’s low snake,
and the crisp top wow of perfume.
She says, I wanted you more yesterday
than today.


Sweetheart I said I know strangers

Sweetheart, I said. I know strangers
kinder to me than you. Last week she says to me
she says: “I would absolutely – she said ‘absolutely’ –
love to walk along the pier with you. Let us, next week.”
Here we are, plus extra, and nothing.
She thinks words are what you put in a piñata.


We were double sweatered

We were double sweatered blanket caped
thickened oxen, yes and cold all the time.
But who but oily fools would let the heat
from their bodies wander off into the air
above their heads. Jimmy Carter wouldn’t.
Jimmy Carter said think of the future’s
future’s future and we did.


My beautiful picture

Many believe they have tamed
a wolf, pointing to the stilled limbs
the buckled belt. Yet these are the ones
who will find the shards of barrettes
and ice cubes
littering the floor of the cave,
no wolf for miles. Oh!
Will wail the children, Where hath gone our wolf? 
But that wolf was always a wolf, only messing
with cinching its scarf, and the tutus at night,
and the mops at noon. Its howl
always a bubble slobbery in its throat.


I wanted bubbles to cover me

I wanted bubbles to cover me.
But they stick to themselves and won’t.
Pretend this is my true dream.
I am a bubble abominable monster
dominating this tub.
I dominate you with my brutal vision
of being bubble covered. Pretend my execution
is as killer as my vision.

I don't know what I want

I don’t know what I want.
I thought I did and now I don’t.


Nancy Kangas lives in Columbus. Her poetry has been published in print and online, and for over a decade she edited Nancy’s Magazine. She writes for Muse magazine, and often teaches poetry in residencies sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council. Nancy is co-directing The Preschool Poets, a series of animated short films based on poems composed by her young students.