Seeking Muse for Hire

Her current favorite
has gone abroad
for the remainder
of the year. Another one
just quit—returned
to the grave without so much
as a simple parting
image. A once reliable one
keeps hiding
downriver. The weather is
unremarkable. No plans
to travel around cliffs
or on crowded trains.
Even a blinking red
traffic safety light
on that man’s messenger
bag in an indoor plaza
leaves her

without illumination. To be chronic
has its challenges—she might borrow
one just to get through this night.

Van Aken Boulevard Rhetoric

In the basement between
the family and laundry
rooms, a yellow wall
phone hangs—always ready
to be used. And we did
with alarming frequency. Track

lighting reflected in this mug
of coffee twinkles the way
those bulbs screwed into that cellar
ceiling between pipes
never could. Who were we
talking to all those hours? Who’s left

in our lives? I have answers,
and it doesn’t matter. No one expects
them—that’s how it works.