Glass Plan

To run a marathon, write
a book, publish
a poem, make
love to a woman, join
a commune, find
a home, see the world,

to call it a day
is to spin my own

epitaph on a 3 x 5
note card, index
my breath, become obsessed
with chasing my own
past, is to take
a long ride on a train.

Token Rolls

With that simple placement
of a single red
rose in your tended
gravesite flowerbed

I say good-bye. Still I see
your face, hear your voice
in strangers conversing
as they do their jobs

in your hometown. Whoever reads
the message I attached to the thorn
will know the code
to break your inappropriate hold

on my life. Some symbols
need to die.

On the Slope

She tucks a note
into the flower bed beside

his tombstone to start
an anonymous conversation

with all the other cemetery
saviors who may hit this graveyard

before leaves camouflage
the beginning and end

dates engraved in stone
and mute everything in between.

Unconsummate

A bed of pine needles
because it’s Massachusetts.
You wear a shirt studded
with diamond-shaped snaps
two nights in a row. I’ll never tell

you how I like the gray
in your beard
the way I told him never
to shave his off
30 years ago. I won’t mix

you up. The music is
immortal. The flowers he grew
were something else.

Howdhecatchem

You say let’s celebrate
Columbo—not
Columbus—Day. I’ll dirty
my trench coat
for you. I could be a detective
the way I’ve perfected the stalk
without disturbing

anyone, especially the dead. I yell
at those people
who climb on the red metal
sculpture in a public garden.
It’s not a slide. I’m no grave
digger. Archaeologist—never. Who
gets to say what’s sacred or how

to achieve closure? It’s time to give
those bones a rest.

Woburn, Mass.

So this is the setting
of those high school days I made
you long for. This is you

at the age I was
when we met. So that was your secret
ambition. That’s your smile

before the war
bent it out of shape. So this is me
trying to make sense of the ultimate

why

our paths crossed in the exact
tangled deformation
they did.

Knotted

Graffiti artists or civil
engineers leave
their mark on a sidewalk

outside an abandoned gas station. A half empty
bottle of Coors, one soaked pack
of Camels beside

your tombstone—vandals or care
takers. The golden

section, topology, a field
trip to the MIT Computation Center. Figures
may not lie, but street addresses can

disappear. What’s left is
open to interpretation.