New Year's

The party captain took your coat,
placed it on a hanger,

and passed it (bucket-

down to the basement.
Six hours later,

he showed you to the drunken door.
Last night:

not your best performance, Margaret.

What is, lately?

The snow falling now
on New Year's Day.

In a comfortable bed,
a book by your pillow…

Feel free, Margaret,
to complain all you want—
it doesn't really matter.

And the child sleeping
on the couch is my son.

My Friends and Their Girlfriends

There was a hint of, what? Resentment?
She'd come home early, a bit drunk,

(Please do not hiss the villain)

and sat on the edge of the bed where he was trying to sleep.

Excuse me, I had a panic attack.

It's always a compromise, isn't it?
(But some relationships get stuck early).

In his half-dream they drifted
Between the beach and the bungalow—

It was 1995 or '96.
Some luck they had then. Some secret.

Thomas Swiss is a professor at the University of Iowa, editor of the Iowa Review Web-a journal of new media writing and art-- and author of two collections of poems, Rough Cut (University of Illinois) and Measure (University of Alabama). His latest book is about the Web and Culture (NYU Press.)