It smells ripe
today—the river. Hope
its wreaking havoc
is done by the time those waters
flow over your bed,
against your banks,
under other bridges
sturdy so far.

Lean Into It

Terror in the subway
passages, in skyways, hallways that echo, tunnels
to dangerous thought. Too short,

too short, too short. She breathes
glottal stop free—nothing to keep her from hugging breezes,
kissing trees.


Whatever happened to Dumptruck? What
got lost in the Portland quarry has been

recycled into Brooklyn brownstone tall
tales. I used to shout: “Get off

my island” too. Followed by the refrain:
“No one owns

the land.” Thought I was so clever
discovering her getaway

path—used to be mine. You didn’t want
to take it till it became

hers. And definitely no one owns
the water between—no matter

what anyone says. That includes you
singing or talking in your sleep.


Hubs and nests and courses
and old men fishing
in the Mississippi
too close to the urban fray

to be anything but
what they are. I’m the fringe
life centrally located. City hermits
will not unite. But on anonymous

jaunts down avenues
going north/south, we nod
as we pass one another
in steady streams.

Helen’s Hour

Bumping against the half century
mark, she recalls (it’s time for that—right?)
a large wooden hour

glass she used to tip. Did it really
take 60 minutes for every last grain
of sand to slip through
that mouthless bottle

neck? She imagines
her grandmother would collect
jars of sand from the rocky beach

that doubled as their waterfront
cottage’s front yard—a promenade
shrinking into a cool rippled
bay. Not a surfer’s surface. She would be

Grandma’s little helper—eager
to pick out bits of sea
glass and chipped shells

for her own bragger’s collection
to tote back to the Midwest
at summer’s end. How did she do it—get the sand
into that perfectly narrow glass

female figure? It probably wasn’t her
doing after all. But she likes to recollect
images as she pleases to pronounce:

The imagination is not dead. It’s alive
and confidently working its way
into the 21st century. And no creeping

tidal shift will wash it away. Her hands have begun
to wrinkle like that old woman’s. And she realizes
this might not be so bad after all.

Below Grade Cafe

Incessant talkers deliver
monologues to dead loved ones
before burial, a self-proclaimed born
teacher gossips

to a silent companion. I’m the eavesdropper—
noisy interloper
who won’t say a word.

Toward 26th & Lyndale

Common Roots not the CC
these days. Urban beavers, the storms
of early summer leave barricades

to lake connecting channel paths
I want to follow. I bless
reversible steps—duck and dart

back through without
a scratch. Not going to play pool
in a darkened bar on a sunny afternoon

the way we used to waste
time. I’m still learning the definition

of precious. You’re in it—
and gone forever.

Carry On

Blow drying leather
sandals she wore
in a downpour does nothing

to relieve her of the desire
to uncover the secret

to standing still. Gerunds are lovable
tools no matter what
that other poet said. Just saying.

Underpass Echoes

This spill onto pavers
beneath the bridge beside the river
is her reminder—there are other things

worth fearing
more than an errant fish
hook, a fast woman walking

and expecting past you, even this
sting on scraped knee and toe.
Forgetting how to laugh would be one worthy.

Ode to the Model Shop

And what to do
with those nails—I won’t bite
anything that close
to the foundation. Wouldn’t want
that from you. Or
to name you precious
sculpture. We both could stand
to move to the sound
of our own banging hearts.