Don’t you want me
to dance on your grave?
These ashes could soothe

more than feet—could be
those dead man’s clothes
are yours now.


Another cruel reminder, cut
across the cheek upon waking—she is powerless

over her dreams. All those words
he lost will not be retrieved

the way her unconscious mind plots
it. The medication she lost

is not hers to lose. If she could
control them, no kisses planted

with perfect choreography
could open any trap doors

to escape from the message:
not to be false.

The Best Thing To Do

To lift each piece
of mismatched furniture
to sweep beneath

is a risk

to find faith
in the ability to face
the ache and relief

and horror and
acceptance of a mystery
tragically solved.

No More Delivery

On farmer’s market
day, she helps the blind
man find his time

to cross. The colors
of a vegetable stand meld
into one kaleidoscope

wish—to do
these things without
announcing them

as some addict’s letter
to the world. This is not
what Emily meant.

October Grief

Dust in a machine,
overheated thoughts trigger
emergency shutdowns. Zigzag

is not a place. This is
the only place
where rain comes in threads

that won’t dissolve
the glue she uses
to hold what’s left

of her together.

High Hat Wind

Moan or whistle, skyway
window panes are walls
of response to the lowest

air pressure to hit the state
in recorded history. Loss
of power isn’t the same

as how we become powerless
to stop weather patterns
of obsession from registering

overhead—constricting within.

Epitaph in Ashes

For Steve

Because there would be
no next time
around, she chooses to listen

to Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Joy
Division the way he would have wished
if he still could.

Shall We Dance?

For Steve and Colin

We three who sit in a tattered, sprung black
booth on the non-music side

ourselves this. The confusion—
liver or lives, ecstasy
from a handful of pills or arms

from an invisible burden. It would kill
off two, would leave

the third alone

to hold the hollows
of an answer together
with her own hug

she wraps around herself.

A Seasonal Man

For Steve

A spring rain
essence hangs in the air
on a Saturday morning
in October, triggers memories

of any season
up for grabs. We hunt for rats
in the NYC subway,
on its streets, behind

its garbage bins
in alleys. Summer in the City
always makes a statement
to the nose. Bad

puns and monotony
breaking drinks to keep us
warm on a Minnesota winter
night. I came unprepared. You

had no idea what you were
getting yourself into—out of.
On the west bank
of the Saint Croix,

we read through
all I had written
come spring. It came
so violently, I almost faded

dead away
by my own hand. Was it yours
that crossed out

the almost

18 years later—the slow
desperation of a soul dying
to be free.

Arrogant Cocoon

If she saw what touched
those streets, these steps
she rarely takes, that railing,
she wouldn’t leave her own
skin, wouldn’t believe
in the imagination
and its relatives, would
simply wrap herself up
till it rained.