...and then the rent is due

Wren Romero

...and then the rent is due


there’s a tomorrow behind today

& it collects yesterdays to sharpen.

there’s a tomorrow behind today

& it’s got a point

pressed in to the back of today.

there’s a tomorrow behind today

& it needs

a bus pas,

winter gloves

& 20 bucks to buy a dub

& knows that today owes yesterday money.

there’s a tomorrow behind today

& it will be here:

you can’t stop it any more

than you can hold the earth

without standing on it.


to find the crying country of my heart:

take two rods

bang them together

til ghosts start dancing

to the tune of coke

losing its last refinery.

when there are no more

bottled necks or dammed nations,

no deep diggers

or tracking rig riggers,

leave the aquifer alone

look out

and ask the first cloud you meet

what the reason might be

that if there were a river in my chest,

i’d think it for the best

that no person should ever, ever see.


i have asked every poet i could find-

is there any way but war?

and they,

from barracks,

bomb shelters,

forest temples

and hospital wings-

with voices

great and trembling

empty and full

and scratching like so many pencils-

in prophesy, prose,

lyric, essay,

joke and riddle,



or, yes,

and then the big men kill you

and then no again.