The public safety
building skyway has nothing
in its display case. No hint
of what got abandoned, what could become
enclosed in glass. She could

start over. Wind her way
through 7+ miles
of second floor passageways.
Could comment on the return
of Minnesota winter. But

another tabula rasa
might serve best to shake

her free of this burden of shoulder
shrugging routine.


No more talking
about the weather, a giant
dragonfly dangles

from the ceiling
inside a giant
library. Her services

are no longer needed. Justice
will prevail
or fail without her. It’s January—

other topics
can be scarce.

Won’t Go Back to the Cellar

An open safety pin
lies on a sidewalk
sprinkled with snow
as the temperature

plummets. She second
guesses her choice
to leave it there. Questions
the optimism she offered

a stranger last week. A weapon
is a weapon. Drunk
driving is driving
drunk, underage or

over it. If she had
a license, it would have caught
up with her
by now. A sigh

and accelerated pace,
pedestrian reprieves
count just as much.

Juror’s Requiem

Could be small drops
of Eastern European blood
in my veins—a Polish cynic
leaning into the light. Could be
the quiet I seek to escape
into without a translator
to jar me awake. A weekend’s worth
of forgotten dreams and whisperings
sworn on ice
and still

I can’t shake your face
in profile. Presumed innocence
and feature-flattening, color-draining
fear. Your perfectly enunciated
“Thank you!” lifted me
higher than any Art Deco
elevator transporting me
to the top of the Foshay Tower.
It’s a blessing
to choose well.

No Spoiler

If I drove a car, it would
not have one. If
I had a baby, I would
try not to overindulge it.
If I built a cottage
near the ocean, I would
be careful not to ruin
the view. If I knew
the ending to a movie, I would
keep it to myself. If
I had a lover, I would
inevitably do just that
before it went too far.

Fever Dreams

Two turtles sleep
at the entrance
to a subway escalator
that only goes

up. Someone says
they’re hung
over. I don’t believe
him. Suddenly they show

their heads, then legs,
then crawl away. End
of scene—onto that subway
I only see

in dreams. Couldn’t recognize
who was riding
with me this time.
Could have been you.

Poetic Laryngitis

No cure till the verdict
is read aloud. Till her juror’s oath

is played out,
even a simple metaphor

can’t be
expressed. Nothing implied. All

images captured
must remain sealed

inside a jar
draped in red linen. Even fresh

rain transforming
into snow won’t force a leak.


This is no Big Sur, Dingle
Peninsula, Wasque—
this is somewhere

in the middle. A river
that has starred
as the main character

in novels, caused cities to be
built, become a final stop
for the tormented

and despairing. It is a river
that should be frozen
by now. That only its fringes

cutting against its banks
are covered in a thin sheet
of ice is another story

that needs to be
told. And I’m no narrator
for the fresh or salt.

Where’s the Frozen River?

I sit beneath a painting of Kerouac
in thick shades
of gray and try to digest

the fact that I am older than he
will ever be. I should
be so privileged to pass

Emily and Virginia. I’ll prefer
mine lilac and thinner
than the rim of ice

hovering along these northern banks
of the Mississippi. This January
moves unnaturally fast.