Fashion 2010

White, unadorned silk,
her obsession is showing.
How much depends on 

how closely you look. If
you comment on it, she may reply: 

Oh, it’s supposed to.
That’s the style
as is this gray hair.

Before Our First Kiss

We didn’t know. How
could we?  I could be 

in the midst 

of another halo
shadow over hours 

untold. Could be
at the nudge 

and pause as they ripen
inside a green house 

beneath a green roof.
His lips could be 

ready, and I would be unpainted 

and preoccupied
with this spot on a Formica 

table top. An imaginary island
in an imaginary sea.

Van Aken Boulevard

A forest-killing nightmare, a daydreamer rocks
to 70s radio hits on a black-and-white
checked basement couch. Not ready 

to face the daylight pocketed
on a patch of carpet a floor above
her head. It’s the smart 

(ass) ones she goes after with a gossamer twined
web she spits into those pipes
running along the ceiling. It doesn’t always stick.

It Says No Judgment Day

Volcanic ash washes
over Europe. The Internet comes 

crashing around
our ankles. I smell a generator
run off
at the mouth.  And my jaw 

aches for a bearing
down closer to where
you might have placed 

your tongue
for a measure.

Slender Language

As I become a lake
in a river, I narrow
my view to lines broken 

by bridges, galvanized
steel spider
webs over my head. 

I would forget the Liffey,
Erie Canal, pomegranate
seeds tucked inside a secret 

pocket of stolen narration.
Would recall another Retreat
Drive and wish 

to be remembered
for the scent of rosewater,
not the words I couldn’t 

say slowly enough
to make you pause.

Day 2,703

Some days she’s not willing
to dig deep
below a scratched surface 

truth. Some days she just wants
to see her
reflection crack
and walk on. Some

other days that become nights
she would rather go
blind than acknowledge
the visions trapping 

her heart inside an under river
tunnel. This could be
one of those.

No So Long—No Good-bye

This date cannot take me away
from you the way
I almost succeeded in making it
work for me years ago. Got it wrong.
The clouds won’t break 

this afternoon. Learning
to walk again, you can rest
your eyes in this patch
of gray. I may escape on foot
for a moment. I will return 

to the day breathing
in relief—a sculpture
breaks free of its artist’s grip.
I’m a step outside
Rodin’s Caryatid. I’m climbing 

outside someone else’s
imagination working on a dream
where no one has to say
anything. Let those words he says
will never die expire.

Character to Go

No time to explore
the lobby so make it 

up as you charge
down the back stair 

well. A dry one.
Not a drunk in sight. No mirrors 

or reflective glass
walls to encase you 

in your own reprieve
from the next flood. A drought 

at another bottom. You’ve read
the views bind guests 

to spells of stillness.
It’s not the pause 

in your story. Are you
that delusional, or are you the real 

omnipotent narrator come to quell
the intrusive one?

W

That between hotel rooms
doorway, loop hole
in my story, rarely used,
opens questions 

to the last fading
balcony light. Is it
one door or two? If one,
does it lock 

on both sides? If on
only one, who chooses who 

gets to hold the key?
Would it be you? Would it be me?
Would it be the concierge
deciding if it’s a good night 

for matchmaking? Do we fit
his image of accidental lovers,
or would he be wicked
in his plotting domestic traveling 

disturbance? Or perhaps he just wants
to see what could happen—lets it drop 

into the can
without remembering if
he secured us in or out,
or not at all.