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Also by Beth Ellen Anstandig:
The Last Stop Disco | The List of Grave Disappointments Lengthens

The List of Grave Disappointments Lengthens

It's been another summer of scorching dread,
a move away from the lover
who can't keep his infinite jealous thoughts to himself.
Then a move away from the knobby-kneed roommate,
a breast job with a mean streak. She maintains more
than her body can handle, bladder infections,
urinary tract infections, sleeps her way through the Prozac, through her miserable life and finally out of mine.
Two moves in two months,

three Israeli men with a truck
cart my belongings from one end of the valley
and back, the boxes soggy from their sweaty arms.
Sheko leads the group with impressive command,
talks of a twin sister, his small village and his many

I keep transplanting my horses, my dogs,
four animals who no longer believe it's worth it
to establish territory, don't believe they'll stay where
      they are
for very long. This saddens me.

Five days later and I'm claiming my new territory. Sheko
with his thick Israeli accent, says he wants to ride my
He says he can't stop thinking about my furniture
and loves my choice of artwork. He'd know it well
after six hours of touching everything I own. Seven
      deadly sins later
and we're fucking on my velvet couch,
desire filling the room like the twilight blue glaring at our
His face is full of piercings and metal jewelry,
full of an ungraspable anger toward his country,
toward the army that made him
kill eight Lebanese men with his bare hands,
his face full of pain, of deception, mine,
vacant, not full of anything at all. And I can see it
staring back at me in the skylight above our naked

Some coffee, a meaningless lesson in Hebrew, I want to
and it's nine days until I hear from him again,
on his way to Burning Man where he'll eat glamorous
      drugs in a techno-filled desert.
He's rented an enormous RV and hopes to make some
      fast cash
piercing other bodies: nipples and noses, clitorises,
      tongues, eyebrows and cheeks.
At ten bucks a pop, he'll be rolling in American dollars.
He'll be able to put on the largest, most elaborate rave
Sheko is to be immediately erased from history. Sheko is
      to be forgotten,
like a mistake you forget you've made, and make it

Printed in the Fall/Winter 2001 issue of CLR

Beth Ellen Anstandig

Beth Ellen Anstandig received her MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University where she received two Academy of American Poets Prizes. She teaches writing and is the
Director of the Center from Literary Arts at San Jose State University.

Her work has been published in Hayden's Ferry Review, South Ash Press, TATTOO HIGHWAY, Flint Hills Review, Tapestry, Louisiana Literature Review (2000 Poetry Prize Winner), and Clackamas Literary Review.

Her collection of poems, Italicized Horses, is currently being considered for publication.

You can find Beth Ellen Anstandig on the web at:
—  "She Would Have Hated" (Tattoo Highway)
—  "Almost Mexico" (Tattoo Highway)
—  San Jose State University

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College