Sworn In On Out

She never takes room—a spillover
lover from his last book
of bed times 

and sleeping porches
in a town so much 

warmer than here. Where
he would say fuck out
loud, she would be a collapsed 

chorus of giggles:
Who is this
who makes me fall  

down so easily into
spasms without withdrawal,
not even from a drop 

of espresso
that woman splattered 

on her way out the door? But
he sings it instead, and that
just makes her stand steady for more.

Make It, Lie In It

Frost on the empty
bottle in a dying
flower
bed, I don’t know what to make             

of this month’s crisp cache.
A locked black metal trunk affixed
to a downtown
bus shelter’s glass 

backing holds those same
secrets—no public access, and I’m not 

ready to go so private without
you, crawling along, ready
to wrap my swollen feet
in your final scroll.

Aroma Therapy

“There’s the present moment fraught with tangled woods.”
—Jack Kerouac, from Big Sur 

The doctor who’s not really
a doctor
yet asks her to find her 

safe place with eyes closed, to lie
on her back, see
nothing but that brown orange 

noise of inner eye
lids till it comes 

into focus—the edge 

of a field blurred into a pine forest so ripe
with needle
bed mint sweetness. 

All kisses before it got so complicated 

and the sun peeking through just
to wave hello 

and see you later when you get up
from your daydream—
I mean hers. 

It was her death to be 

so awake before all of you without
a cleared path
to escape along. It is about 

feet first, it turns out.

Mississippi River Dirge

Mixed bouquets from a private garden sold
at a farmer’s market stall
Thursdays on the mall—one secured 

with elastic and string
to the bridge’s southeast rail
and a note. I can’t make 

out any words
save you and peace. His name still
withheld. It’s not 

the impact 

on water through air once
met metal 

ledge, but the force
of those falls against
sad flesh crushing bone.