by Aaron Belz


That there’s no way to say
“I love you” in French?
And there’s no way to say
“I love Judi Dench.”

There’s no way to say
“Hey did you just paint
this bench?” or “The
meat tastes like finch”

or “This knackwurst
contains about two parts
canary.” But you can say,
“Which way is the ferry?”

You can say, “Tomorrow
promises to be bulbous!”
or “Where is my horn,
you flatulent mumbler?”

Ah, you know. Those French.
They drink ginger ale
from tumblers and ogle
Le Monde through monocles:

“Would you like a croissant?”
“Why, certainement!”
In France, pants come with ants
and aunts act like uncles.



Sky shut; sand shut; tide shut;
cocktails in a tiki hut;

all is out, the moon is out;
lights out; dog out;

food done; dishes done;
conversation all but done;

things moving and unseen,
crawling beneath, between;

and in the deep dark lurks
a ship’s hulk, anchor chain,

slosh and clank, clank and slosh;
weighing in the mind, a wish.



I’m still depressed
about identity politics,

and now I can’t
find the cookie sheet.

I was going to bake
Pacific Islander-American

cookies as a surprise
for when Rudy gets

home but now I’ll
have to use the biscuit

pan—some surprise.
The buds on the

hibiscus bush say,
as they open, “identity

politics. Identity—”
So I close the window.


Aaron Belz is a poet and essayist who has published across a wide range of venues, from Wired to Christian History to Boston Review. He currently serves as a contributing editor for Capital Commentary, the weekly current-affairs publication of the Center for Public Justice in Washington, D.C., and writes regularly for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Books & Culture, and other periodicals. He has published two books of poetry, TheBird Hoverer (2007) and Lovely,Raspberry (2010); a third, Glitter Bomb, is forthcoming from Persea Books.