Michael Klein, “Happiness Ruined Everything”

Kicking off this December, two poems by Michael Klein.


To the therapist:
I came here about a dream.

To the patient:
How did you know you could be happy with somebody else?

To the world:
We met at the opening
of where I was already happy.
He didn’t bring happiness. We were all there together.

Before he died he said: things exist in dialogue.

Sacrifice is not about giving something up, it’s about
making something sacred.


What’s wrong with that?
I want to say to anyone
who doesn’t believe sometimes
he comes back inside the language
a book is talking in or more demonstrably in my yellow cat: Cyrus
who stays on the bed when I am leaving, as if the slightest
move of fur would let my brother out.

How can possession know how much space

it takes up in a body smaller than the one where it started – when it was called



MICHAEL KLEIN‘s books are: Track Conditions, The End of Being Known, 1990, a co-winner of a 1993 Lambda Literary Award, and most recently the poetry collection then we were still living. He has taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, City College of New York, Binghamton University, and is currently a faculty member in the MFA Program at Goddard College and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He divides his time between Provincetown and New York City.