Anything Can Be Sculpture

And under glass: Clifford,
the Blind Fairy, Green
Eggs and Ham, Corduroy,
Celia and the Sweet,
Sweet Water, Elsie
Times Eight, and so on

across the plane
of a table top. Hard
cover nonfiction
for legs. I see no reference
books recycled into rocking
chair runners. No poetry

collection lamp stands. But
with eyes closed
anything can be.

Thinking About Red Birds Again

The flight across pre-spring
parkland on a hot March
morning, or the sinking

to the bottom
of the Atlantic. Pinging
back and forth between

ocean and river, bicycle
wheel and open
window won’t revive

verbs that prefer
to remain dead.

The Ones She Remembers Spill the Most

She opens the cupboard to run
her fingers along those tin

of sleep. Which one
tonight? Where
does she want to go? Who
does she want

to encounter in her nightgown
in the rain? And those questions
she won’t ask: Why
don’t scandals have names

like hurricanes? Monosyllabic
male names: Jon, Jay,
Bill, Mike, Dirk, Al, Zeus,
Jim, Dick. No doubt

about it—her dreams bend
genres and tend to leak
if tipped too far forward.

Decade of Origin

I’m no longer
a Manhattan with rye,
the suit with one sugar cube, or
the skirt

garnished with a cherry. I’m no longer
eligible to mix
it up on the East Coast. But
visits taken black

filled to the brim
still carry me home.

I’ve Sent the Adverbs into Exile

Packed into a cardboard box
with ly’s dangling
from gaps between
the flaps. I’m done with action

that can’t justify
itself. If an escalator squeaks,
let it squeak. If a cat scratches,
let it. If the box

gets returned to sender
because exile has no zipcode,
let it sit on the stoop
till I’m ready

to unpack it—slowly
cutting off those letters first.

Downtown to Uptown

To me, this doesn’t rhyme:
“And the rural route
I can never get out.”*

Last day before daylight
saving time is a spoiler
for spring. First long walk

of the year
without a jacket
unveils last fall’s

aroma being transmitted
from the ground.
Moving away

from the river, I wonder
how saudade can get so landlocked.
Everyone who came

to my birthday party
at the Uptown Bar and Café
that first year

to drink Jägermeister
and beer is dead—
including the Uptown—save me.

* Darin Wald, “Not to Me” (from Big Ditch Road’s Ring)

Rose Wash March Sky

A paint lab, energy
substation, master
space plan mapping
more than a backyard

newsroom—the day
gets done without
losing a square
foot of roof
garden produce. Someone will

still push the clock

ahead 32 hours
from now. Even urban
farmers need
space to dream.

Born Into a Country in Mourning

A basketball left
on a playground half
covered in snow—the view
through the chain

link fence. A typo
in a blog entry posted late
at night—the view
through cleared morning

vision. A mannequin wears
a flowing dress with white
lilies over a background
the color of the inside

of a grapefruit—the view
across an empty plaza. The lipstick
I leave on
this ceramic coffee mug

is the only view
I can touch.

Homesick for Major Deegan Exit 11

Digital monsters
with moustaches, power
outlets in the café
floor, the names
we never got

right—that door
ought to be
locked. Or, then, not
at all. Why did this
way get invented

if no one is
allowed to go
this way? That
would be called
the last
exits to exist.