Move Scenario

She’s going to write another
poem about how she almost

to Georgia. And she’ll use

at least two more times
before finding relief

for a blistered left
thumb. This burn—an accident.

An embarrassment.
An encounter
with a flat

iron nothing like the wedge
of a building where her former

self began.
Then the move

to Connecticut, then the big one
to Minneapolis—not Athens.

One music town
or another

ahead. A northern girl
in the end—so far.

Flat Dissolution

One hundred tornadoes. A fifth
of American Honey poured
on a stranger’s Raisin Bran. A heartland

spreads and evaporates
without any salt
in the water. It could happen

here—could happen
anywhere. It has.
That urban myth

protecting the urban
center—debunked. One hundred
tornadoes. A fifth of anything

clear. Street game

Imaginary Isthmus

A citrus hangover on a humid spring
Sunday leaves her certain

she can smell the lilac bushes
on an island she used to know. What if

a bridge of land appeared above
the white caps to graft it to the cape.

She would still take the ferry. Would still hear the almost
in peninsula. She would still believe

in separation
over creation myths. And still want
to build her hotel

for pariahs on the clay
cliffs overlooking that wild
side of the Atlantic.


“Lap and drag. Crag and gleam.
That continual work of wave
And tide, like a wet wind, blowing
The earth down to nothing.”
—Tracy K. Smith, from “Minister of Saudade” (in Duende)

When laws of motion become lairs,
it’s time to reconsider the quarry

and what it might hold. She stopped
buying bathing suits when she learned

the truth about limits. Love
lies at the bottom

of the bottomless. There she’ll be—
denying her need

for oxygen. Not a little death.
Not a death at all.

Stands Over Friday the Thirteenth

She walks the long way
around building façade
restoration scaffolding.
In this wind and light
rain, weather is no longer

superstition. Weather is
serendipity. When libraries become
verbs, new subjects will appear and succumb

to a state of being
searchable. And she’ll brush
the leftover syllables
into the gutter
for another Friday.

Hard Return

A disembodied voice
goes silent
while the body flees
to another scene. Another season

to test out microphones
for the soul. No one calls
for the ombudsman
in this crowd. Every form

and structure gets
a say. What gets
heard is news
for another night.

Hermit Crab

Whoever can write
about home on demand
has never been challenged
by the prospect of losing
its meaning. The place where I was born

holds no promise
of belonging. Have seen it
once since I left at six
months. Where I met my husband
means nothing because

there is no husband. If home is
where you hang
yourself, I can almost call this town
on the Mississippi the place. Almost. But
what about The City? The Atlantic Ocean?

It could be where you build
your own Take No Heroes Hotel
from some abandoned structure
with former lives peaking through.

Last Night the Moon Was Full

And this white shirt
with stick figure faces
wrapping around the sleeves
could only be an icebreaker
in an early morning
dream. Your mother says

I need a man’s opinion. I say,
remember the dilapidated white house
with that front porch reduced
to a stoop where your sister lived
her first year of college? That’s how
you know me—I lived there

too. And now (because it’s one
of those unfolding at civil
dawn) your mother drives us
to a farmstead you recognize. I don’t.
A few thousand miles west
of that house. You’re someone’s brother

and still
you rest your hand
over mine as if
to say it’s going to be
okay. I wake before I can
reply, how do you know.

Pretty Good Friday

AKA is not FKA is
not who she thinks
you are. How to feel saudade

about the name
of a place, not the place
itself. She wonders if

we are what we eat
on the way to choosing the one
that will stick.

There She Is

Not ready for the flash
mob to erase her
memory of him. Or
his name. She confesses

to her Connecticut days
and nights. No one
will recognize her
in this white tee, black

hoody, blue jeans, white
sneakers. She could—and
she will—take
another route home.