Atomic Number 13

Afterthoughts dance a revel before
me in their borrowed tunics
and repurposed top
hats. I would like to see 

that cellar retrofitted
beneath the surface
that cannot be defined. I
imagine how it would be 

to submerge an old Airstream—
my silver bullet travels
just under the earth’s skin. I cringe
but then applaud 

the rising courage that gets
partially skimmed off.

In Defense of Your Grandmother’s

Vo-tech, high-rise
stack of comic book
spines, staples get removed. 

I’m not ready to give
up Babel or what Borges said.
I won’t slam.

No. 9 or So

Not built for long-term love
excursions, she seeks a glimmer
in a warmer gray—couldn’t
draw a picture to convey her way 

through an open door.
To fiddle with a lock and swing
into a door jam
is 

the extent
of her inclination
to reconfigure lines
and what might get shaded 

inside. She’s not interested
in that constraint—others float
to the surface
of this potion 

she may, or may not, number.

Vitamin E

My thighs have turned
a bloodless white. A dry
heaving wind Marilyn
Monroes my dress. A tiny
globe exposed, I walk inside 

city limits—checking,
checking, checking
those boundaries I installed
with bare feet
and the promise of late 

July rain. A voice
bellows and gusts
from the bottom
of my back
pack.  I won’t 

reach it
in time. Solitude has sprung
loose again.

Light in the Alley

Tone deaf, color
blind to the hues
of a man’s gestures. Bored, 

shy, turned
on, off—who can
tell? Gossip dug out 

of a dumpster, laid
in the mid-summer grass
to dry out, to cure well 

enough for a taste. I don’t eat 

meat. That’s no excuse.
I’m human. I share
secrets—only my own.

Fear Is a Four Letter Word—And So What

Someone drove a Nash
rambler into my heart.
See these burn scars. I’m knitting them 

into poems fast
as I can. Fear is
a cross-stitch I’m 

still learning how to work
into a pattern. Perfection
is for the gods.

On the Remake

“Then nothing will remain of the iron age
And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem
Stuck in the world’s thought, splinters of glass
In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain . . .”
—Robinson Jeffers, from “Summer Holiday” 

I can find the trash
chute without falling
under its spell.  Won’t be abducted 

by shattered glass thoughts
desperate to become sand
again. I will recycle myself.  Will 

find another man
to feed me—am seeking
fresh vegetables, grilled fish, and laughter 

sweet as peaches
we’ll dare to eat.