When my students ask me how to use the future tense,
I tell them that we use “will”
for a promise or a threat.
I will always love you, for example.
And to make a plan, we use the “present continuous,”
I am divorcing him.
And when they ask about the “simple past,”
He loved me a long time ago . . .
It’s not that simple, I tell them.
There’s certainly nothing perfect about the “present perfect,”
I have loved you since the day I met you.
By definition, I ask them,
Does this mean that he stopped loving me?
But loving is a “non-continuous verb,”
Loving, I tell them, is incorrect.
And for the modals?
(Though confused, I know I still have their interest)
I may, I might, I should, I could
keep going, but I won’t.
Instead, I tell them:
Love is full of tenses.
*Published in Timberline Review, Su 2015
I saw my man
put a dollar
in the soda machine
to buy a Coke
but the Coke didn’t come out
was an Orange Crush.
My man was banging that machine
so hard with his fists
Goddamn it! Goddamn machine!
but when he got the Orange Crush
he drank it anyway.
Why? I asked him.
Cause it’s here
and I’m thirsty
You get used to it—
You get used to a lot of things, he said.
I’ll never get used to losing you,
I told him.
*published in Hartskill Review, 205