Ohio Cruising Altitude

Is this the right number
of times to have lost
myself to this sound—yours? To fly

solo over traffic
air currents low enough
to see each housing

development curl
into its cul de sac
mortal coil, to trace

each bend in the rivers between
Cincinnati and Cleveland—Little
Miami, Mohican, Cuyahoga,

Chagrin. To be high

enough to know it is possible
to survive this state
without losing my sense

of direction for the gathering
of waters. The tally stretches across
the greatest mud. Take me home.

To Widow a Name

is no accident, is my passive
aggressive mapping of my own
heart. I know

it is not what you are
called (or those few choice
words we exchanged)

that made me sick. I know
my body’s internal mechanisms
are of no concern to you. Still,

I can swallow this dream—panacea
that floats to the top. To say it
aloud is too much.

Before the SUV Almost Ran Me Over

For Sheri

A child takes
a piano
lesson upstairs, strong
brew purchased below,
the teacher sings. I wish

she wouldn’t. Then it stops. Newspaper
pages rustle—an old
fashioned sound. All the text
messages I don’t hear
take me from this pivot

point. An elbow
aches, and still I will sling
a bag over the same
shoulder to risk
intersections to get to you.

But can I meet the streets
of Cincinnati
where traffic accidents
hit too close
to home? I only hope to recognize her

soul gently touching my arm
when I look both ways.

Issue

All exits are emergency
escapes from moments
that have died.
Write tiny epitaphs

for each and be accused
of living in the past. Without
them there would be
no future. The time has come

to forgive
our younger selves.

I Feel Therefore I Am

More than a freshly cut
bundle, more than a bonfire
burning in a field
across the highway, I am

all emotion: no bones,
tendons, skin left.
Everything touches
the raw side—ecstatic

tears, smiles
through grief. I can’t
tell the difference
between my own

laughter, sobs,
orgasms. It’s all

release,

it’s all that’s left,
it’s all I’ve ever been.

Hook

The alarms are as false
as the ladders and boots are

true to form. She prepares
to leave, doesn’t want sleep

disruption on this last night
before an angel appears—some people

go to church—she goes
straight to the source.