Sometimes It Snows in October

Mere days
after running,
no floating, for miles
along trails with rails, weather so
perfect.

Almost
peak fall colors
transform the view in all
directions, and you know you are
in it.

This is
your season. And
you spot, not one, but two
freight trains along the way. Waiting
to cross

the tracks,
you can’t, no you
won’t, stop. You are so left,
you’re right around the corner from
where we

started
this mess, come full
circle. Then it begins
to snow. Another blow to a
blown year.

And you
refuse to let
it keep you from going
outside, into the unplowed cold
blankness.

Winter’s
trying to crowd
out fall. Canopies of
snow weigh heavily on branches
with leaves

before
they got the chance
to fall. Yellow, orange,
red, even green moments whisper
through white.

Tiny
avalanches
spill on your head as you
push on, try to pretend nothing
has changed.

four words walk into a bar to decide if the Parti can surpass a Lone View into a Dale

There’s that
word again. It
comes to divide us, match
make no one inside the perfect
parti.

Next year
I will break free.
No more five line stanza
straitjacket to dictate my lone
holler.

I don’t
want to use that
word dale to describe this
morning as it foreshadows our
decline.

When you
walk faster than
you run, you know you’ve reached
the plateau where the final word
is view.

It’s all
code for making
time meet space for a drink
when the sun begins to sink so
early.

Because the Avon Street Fire, October 8, 1990

A bag
of pepitas
to sprinkle across fields,
a rustling in the copse alerts
you and

who else
to diagnose
these days as scars, nights more.
You ascend the hill alone, save
a bird.

Halos
getting lost in
translation shift too quickly to
measure.

There was
that fire 30
years ago and that fly
on the VP’s head that won the
the debate.

You keep
saying we all
have a fire story to
tell, this one’s yours. Who really owns
the flame?

Who knows
why she swallowed
the firefly, or who she
is. Only that now they have gone
missing.

Not the
torch’s fault, nor
the cardinal’s, nor its
nest. The man on the roof didn’t
bother

to check
for smoke before
climbing down. You didn’t
believe it could happen to you.
Lucky

to lose
nothing because
you had nothing to lose.
It took decades to learn how to
exhale.

First Two Days in October

Half a
lifetime in one
place more north than midwest,
still it’s the McIntosh apples
you crave.

28 years.

The weight
of his death, the
one who drove the U-Haul
truck for you, presses against your
lungs. Heart.

10 years.

Is this
the half you want
to be remembered for?
Empties removed, no need to be
replaced.

18 years (almost).

Counting
poems, runs, leaves
left on old elms in this
little city’s central park, this
one’s yours.

20 years (almost).

You can
call it northeast
corridor saudade, the
way you hold onto old New York
City

Subway
Metro cards just
hoping they won’t expire
before you return, ready to
stand clear

of the
closing doors. Get
ready for another
ride of your life. That ding dong chime
again.

Half a
lifetime living
a thousand miles from
the platform, the train, the gap, the
third rail.

28 years.

Even
if you did fly
back east this moment, would
there be any strangers left to
ride with?

This year!

Nightlife Now: Where’s the Twinkle in His Eye?

From the entrance
to a moonlight gazebo,
she asks the first star she sees:

“Why won’t you become hyper
text like everything
beneath you?”

It’s been so long since
she’s given herself permission
to go outside after dark,

she forgets how delicate,
how vast,
the response.

A mile from the First Avenue walls
of stars, she can almost hear
a stray song flinch

as it gets linked
to its roots in the holler
where there’s still a twinkle in his eye.

Planting and Pruning in Loring Park

First mounds
of dirt one day,
suddenly the next week,
a thickening of the urban
forest.

Inside
my beloved park,
socially distanced rows
of Sargent cherry saplings line
the path

I take
each morning and
afternoon to stretch my
legs, trying to reduce the stress
of now.

It’s here—
my favorite
season in a shitty
year. Why does everything I
touch turn

inside
out? Even the
story of the young white
walnut planted off to the side.
Even

trees die.
Especially
trees. Damn the emerald
ash borer, damn us, and damn this
climate

ruin.
Gasping for air,
I gently press fingers
against the trunk in search of its
promise.

In the Mississippi River Pocket

Forget
the banks, between
two bridges, down dirt-caked
wooden steps, a white-sanded beach
appears.

Welcome
to the river’s
shore—covered in feathers,
charred driftwood, dunes, graffiti on
concrete.

Almost Astronomical Fall

Try not
to crush the leaf
you gather from the ground—
an early gift from the maple
uphill.

Press its
already turned
veined redness between two
pages of a dictionary
and pray

it will
absorb meaning
as frost coats the wooden
deck to the pedestrian bridge
at dawn.

This Lost Year

These irregular heartbeats.
This day’s anxiety
will subside just in time
for tomorrow’s to kick in.

To be so lucky
to have a kitchen
with a sink drain
that clogs,

a job
with a neverending stream
of crazy deadlines
to meet,

to have a city
neighborhood park
to negotiate threats
of theft in.

Or, are they rumors?

To be all alone
in an apartment
without new images
to trap on paper with ink.

To be so lucky
to have a heart,
to be able to breathe,
to live through it.

Tribute in Light Bird’s-Eye View

When one
thousand pairs of
wings get trapped in the beams
of searchlights, or one crashes to
the ground,

signs of
confusion, it’s
time to pause for twenty
moments to release us to the
darkness.

No one
wants more death to
further scar this date. Cries
fill the night. Please help me find my
way home.