Only When You Accused Me of Starving Myself

Let’s agree to disagree
about this anger
I don’t feel. Only
those numbers in your handwriting
erased from a chalkboard
30 years ago know
how we were supposed to add up

or not. A psychology
of emotions cannot qualify

the spirit in the slate,
a song over the dugout,
stanzas hidden in the threshold
we passed through
so many times
without thinking to pause
long enough to honor the reveal.

Saudade Exchange Rate

Let this table not wobble, my coffee
not spill. Let me not offend

an old friend, remember how
to pronounce the name of your hometown

before I get there. Let it not rain
in New York City

Friday night. Let me discover alternative
spellings for closure, stop trying

to recall how you greeted and bid me
farewell—how I loved it so much

I kept it a secret
even from myself. Let me learn

how to write a grant to pay
for all this incurable longing

neither of us could afford.

Don’t Worry—I Won’t Get Too Close

Meanwhile there’s this dream
I have of you—

a card game, a maze
of corridors, fingers hidden
behind torsos, a borrowed

kiss, another kind
of numbers played here—
and the song? I wake too soon.

Damage

She tells me to locate
my anger—to let it spill
onto your grave. Lost. No belief

in the deconstruction
myth plotting out how
you hurt me. Did you? Did I

you? Were you merely a tragic hero
I fabricated to escape
the curse

of the Take No Heroes Hotel?
No matter what she says, I may just collapse
on the cold stone

and pretend to be a peony
fluttering in strange October air.

(Day 3,242)

Dear Day:
This is no Dear John. I promise
to embrace your moments—to be
true. And when you expire, I’ll live
in your memory. It’s my favorite
thing to do.

On to Dusk

I come from the other
end of autumn
where black and white
frames get mistaken

for winter. But my mother birthed four
children—one for each season
in order. My brother came last
to claim the legitimate

snow and ice. I was born to bury
leaf memory in premature white—a virgin
covering before car exhaust
gets to it.

Another Small Stone Not Used for Counting

No perforation in a bird safe
building. I will smash

against glass if
I’m too absorbed in calculated

thought to see what barricades me
from you. It’s a long way

from our footprints
in the sand.

Small Stone

Some hot October
afternoon she leaves
you as abruptly as she rediscovered

your appeal. Death
doesn’t placate those of us
in the heat or near miss

lovers under any shape
moon.

Now that Your Beard Has Grown Out for Good

Superstition and grooming
don’t mix in graveyards.
Urn selection can be a fun activity
for two—no more. Decisions
made during grief
break over our heads
as lightning on a warm October night.
A thunderous silence
leaves me counting
to digits even you
hadn’t planned to touch.

Coach

To be seamless
is not a goal. I’ve got to see
how you stitched together memories
and faces and the name plates
stuck in the dirt next to those blue
flowers. Got to taste

the same kind of apple you would bite
into when we met over the lunch

period. Would dream
of the scent you gave off
when you brushed against me
after school. Top of the ninth
and your mood would be riding on that boy
on the mound—mine affixed
to you by some kind of metal
pins and rawhide twine.