Traffic Calmer

This solstice is
a cul-de-sac.

I don’t mind losing
my way—no longer ten
miles north of Boston
wondering how houses
and whole streets
can disappear. It only gets lighter
from here, and there’s always
a way out

at that least
likely radius.

Bottom Virtually

A skyway floor
tiled in original Lego
red and gray.
Another covered
in carpet patched
together with black
duct tape—I make my connections
above vehicular fray
seamlessly. New patterns
will arise if we can bounce
off the darkness
into true winter
without misfiring.

Another Lyric Skyway

A real concert
harpist plays beneath
a giant atrium
sculpture with strings

attached. I’ve lived
all these years
with a mannequin—
not a marionette. I have

a cousin who mistakes live
women for the ones without
strings. Someone’s father
worked in a plastics factory

where they manufacture
the ones frozen
in poses. I can’t
draw one—but I could place

a cutout replica
in a jar and wait
to be surprised.

Tap Root

I will not ride
a horse down a busy city street,
won’t make it home

before dark. Sky drama
comes in many colors—iron and bronze
in this civil

twilight. And they sound
more brilliant
than I remember in December’s cold air.

Cold Knoll

If it’s truly darkest
before the dawn and you are
on the other side waiting to be

born, I will not hang
my head low
these long nights. Will dig

a flashlight
out of a dumpster
to shine a beam

on the word
trust

before it’s too late.

On the Brink

Saturday morning ginger
essence on my skin

to keep me eager
without doom, a cat scratch
scar on my ring finger
print that won’t quite heal

is no stigmata.
A tiny smear

of blood on paper
doesn’t speak
in any tongues. Aroma
therapy is no joke.

Whose Gingerbread

Do they remember
months after the solstice? Who

will speak
for you tomorrow morning

before strange fog
clears? Tonight this parade

answers no questions.

Pore

She peels
an orange in the rain.
The scent remains
on her skin into civil
twilight. Her orange
raincoat fits perfectly
across her shoulders—winter
only seven days away. The color
of any aroma captures
her eye when she stands
still long enough to open
anything blocked.

Ecliptic

“the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from “Frost at Midnight”

I get confused about red. Is it
a door, pair of jeans, or a flashing
light I want to guide me
toward the darkest day? Again, the longest night will stretch

into that moment
of optimism when all shrinking
is done and I can almost imagine
the view from the sun.

The 6B

Get on the bus—then get off.
Plan aborted, a walk
in a circle is
one answer. No one else picks

through racks in a dress
boutique to break
her stride. Six degrees

not of separation, but of burn
then numbness
if she waits
for another one too long.