Untitled (Day 2,631)

Subversive gardening, I am
an urban vine unwilling
to be tethered to one person’s possession.
I will not become

part of anyone’s landscape
of ownership dispute. I will

grow as my environment allows. I will
become a grubby urban palimpsest
to be layered upon by a future you and me.

Note: John Ashbery refers to grubby urban palimpsests in his book Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles, 1957-1987, ed. David Bergman (Knopf, 1989).

Franconia Sculpture Park

Reclaim a shed, hitch it
by cables to the sky, spin it
around to face that northern
horizon as it becomes

enlarged by civil twilight. Use
earth to honor the earth—a dirt
laden jigsaw puzzle piece suspended

above its perfectly dug
grave speaks in monosyllables.
The greater swing risks breaking

with each arc, a bracing
hazard always worth it in the end.

Act

as if he could give
you what remains
of daylight. Shadow kisses 

across your cold cheek. Relief
from rush hour chaos—a simple word breaking 

off your mouth. Energy
from ten cups of black coffee, ten cans of Red 

Bull not needed here. As if
this recognition could be
on your face.

Camera Invisible (Day 2,626)

If she were shooting
photos day
by day, she would look 

for you in two-way skyway
motion, would need to
actually see you, then find 

a way to take your image
without being exposed. 

Impossible. You’re nowhere 

near here. Not yet. Not ever
going to take cover 

on this second floor winter
salvation. No, she has it
too easy— 

this corner table, this pen,
that imagination, the taking
a network of secret lines.

Mixology

All this talk of the source, the head,
convergence
of three ecosystems—not 

to mention bog. I’m here to ask
what about
the middle where we’ll find you 

stirring our liquid footprints
with yours to concoct 

a cocktail to be drunk
by those waiting at the mouth
to be served.

Asbury Park

Your name too terrifying
to say, all those wounds
on display before there were scars.
They say you

are rescuing yourself now. But
back then you were locked
out, no one in Ocean
Grove dared to hold the key.

And I say what
difference does it make—graffiti
on a crumbling wall, the crumbling
wall to come down. What difference

now that your reconstructed
boardwalk no longer holds up

my father’s pedestrian prayers
to one hundred shades
of gray ripple and surf.

Now that he’s too far
from any water’s edge
to speak. What a difference
to see you now.

Moraine

Once the digging begins, no
reburial will do, no
wildest classroom with doors opening

onto knob and kettle will teach
away sanctity exhumed. No fire
will ruin the virgin red

pine forest for the future. Neither
deer browsing nor beavers damming
can compare to men

logging off time. As endangered
as a slender naiad or ram’s-head lady

slipper, these are words
that leave no footprint.