Josh Bettinger

I have to build a new fence in my backyard.

I have to replace windows in the front.

I am separating debt


from my face and my breath and the day

and I know—acutely—


that there are monsters in the money 

and tall stacks of Death


in the handshakes I have traded with the rain. 

I have a policy

in place where I dismiss the concerns

of the owls and rodents and bonus items

that I discover in my shadowed garden:


across the yard a lake—

beyond the retaining wall a bridge—

beneath the sky our loves—

a system of calculated gaffes


made golden as they wash away their own amusements. 

Please bring the kids inside

because the clouds are rolling up their sleeves


and clenching their fists

like cartoon giants clearly fed up with this shit. 

Josh Bettinger is a poet and editor. He is the author of the chapbook A Dynamic Range Of Various Designs For Quiet, from GASHER. Recent publications include Salt Hill Journal, Western Humanities Review, Handsome Poetry, SLICE, flock, Columbia Journal, Atlas Review, Crazyhorse, and Boston Review, among others. He lives in Northern California with his wife and kids.