It has taken me algorithms to find the ideal
way of living, and the ideal time of dying,
and it’s not true that you can spot
them if you open your eyes—that’s just board
members being “right.”
Be very suspicious of anyone telling you, “Agree

to disagree.” Counter them with, “Agree
to speak further until we agree.” That is the ideal
discourse. That is the absolute right
way. And forget them, thinking about dying
all of the time is fine. The alternative is like boarding
your dog while you are on vacation, or sitting cross-legged in a spot

under a Bodhi tree for—what was it?—years? The same spot!
Okay, let’s get to it. My ideal mate is brown-haired and agreeable.
He likes to salvage along Highway 57 for waterlogged boards
of wood he will use to make sculptures. Ideal
sculptures. Sculptures about living and dying
and always, without question, being absolutely right.

Sometimes, he’ll look at me, and say, “You’re right.”
And I’ll swoon in that spot
deep in my groin, and think, as usual, a bit about dying.
Is it or is it not the most romantic thing just to agree?
Oh, how ideal! “Oh, how IDEAL! Ohhhh. Ohhh. OH . . . how ideal.”
Then, “Darling, that really is a beautiful sculpture from your waterlogged boards

series on display at MoMA in the spot near Dying
, 1955, oil on vellum.” And him, agreeing: “That’s right,
darling. Boards are so ideal a surface for art.”


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Maribeth Theroux is a poet and performer. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared Off-Broadway as Kelly Kapowski in Bayside! The Musical. Depending on when you read this, Maribeth either lives in New Jersey or Los Angeles. She tweets at @maribeththeroux.