Mississippi Privilege

A companion piece to vintage
postcard greetings, she says hello
to the big river. A swelling

to the brim, this year’s crest still won’t surpass
her expectations—no spilling over downtown
banks. On her ridge

a mile west, she pays
better attention to new lakes
as they make appearances

at street corners. She knows a flood
is no mean fate. Sand bag
preparedness may suffice

here. Oceans away atrocity
continues to rise beyond
calculation and mashed-up time.

Rearrange This

No precious space, no
books framed to hang
on walls she would only want
to move at the moment
of willingness. That dandelion

tea she spilled on
printouts of online
articles about his song
without dance—not necessary.
An accident she could explain

away with a pilot light
that flickers out—after,
always after the water
boils. The dust of her breathing
skin gets in a little

each night
while she sleeps without fear.

Day 3,063

She cracks open a note
to see what’s inside.
Not that she would understand
the springs and pistons
responsible for a change

in key. Or the reflection
of a hidden spiral
stair in a window pane. A plate
of them—may as well be pomegranate
seeds or whole ginger.

She’s left to contemplate
a next step, forget
let it be.

The Other Inn

Mowrey’s Tavern, Cleveland House,
Dunham House, Forest City House, Hotel Cleveland,
Sheraton Cleveland, Stouffer’s Inn
on the Square,

Stouffer Tower City Plaza Hotel, Renaissance
Cleveland Hotel at Tower City
Center. Too many names spill
over her memory of Public Square, the Terminal

Tower when it was still terminal,
but nothing gives. She forgot
to take notes during the seduction.

Here it is—the reason
she built the Take No Heroes Hotel.


Thanks for reminding me how
to seduce mean
from time. I’m lost

inside the simple-eyed cricket
stare of my junk
watch. I want you

on an island next to mine.
We’d build a skyway
then blow it apart

each night in our sleep. I’d build
a dinghy, tuck oars inside
its belly, shove it your way,

get back to this. There would be
no meantime. But, no,
forever those flats, that child

unborn, naturally
washed out with the tide.

I no longer darken—I lighten
my own steps.

All the World’s a Cinquain

in all that dross—
there’s you. My perfect poem—
perfect cadence, coincidence

Art Therapy?

And now I cannot remember
the anecdote I offered
in a letter I wrote you
before we met. Cannot

recall the other reason
we do this make it up
to believe in something
true—other than just because

it’s what we do. I cannot
prove this rebuilds those crumbling
walls that used to protect us
from ourselves. Some words,

some notes belong together
the way you and I never did.