Her Burden Doesn’t Go Silently into the Civil Dawn

It was not my choice
to collapse, says
the bridge in pieces
on the west

bank. A strip
of purple light
strikes a pose
across her face. And

she wonders
how it feels to drop

guilt so easily
on vacant land.

Emerald Coat

She only hugs me
tighter when the wind picks up
fear and tosses it wickedly
through early fall air. I am proud

to say my hue draws
attention. She blushes
and says thank you as if
they were complimenting her, as if

it were her radiant skin
brightening up the morning. But
she can talk—I can’t. So
there’s that.

Without Words

Ready? I couldn’t be
more so. Bronze and
hollowed out. A representation

of a shell to protect
living flesh from otherworldly
showers, I live

in imagination. My darkened
green sleeves peering
through heavy

snow—a figment of a woman’s
realized. Disembodied
lips and an armless mannequin

pillar dance with me
on marble over grass. Who’s
watching? Everyone—and
I am cleansed.

(Inspired by Judith Shea’s sculpture of the same name)

My Perch

I am that fly
on the wall—less
interested in what they are saying
about the arrogance
of that bartender, the scandal
brewing about his niece. More

concerned that the girl
in the red dress
will turn my wall into a sliding
glass door to open
or lean against
with silent longing.

The Thrummed

I’m the one he made first. Still leaning
against an unpainted wall and unstrung
in his mind. Far

from perfect, my curves are a first try. But
he finished me
well. And I’m a hit

at campfires deep
in eastern New York forests.

Up Here

A sculpture outside
another restaurant
that didn’t make it

celebrates a robust
dance in bronze. Limbs
will support a partner’s need

to cry beneath clouds.
Will they break

now or tonight
when reminiscing has begun?
Whose weather will make

the better spin? Some cities
may tie.

Natural Climbers

Straw was a factor
in his fall. No one drowned
in the river
that day. No more bridges


that year. Hay is for
the rest of the time
he considers descent.


“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― Saint Francis of Assisi

She wants to be
the one who creates
art without using

her hands—wants to be
all heart. When she gets
what she wants, it’s time

to recalibrate
the colors—blue for logic,
green for emotion, yellow

for rigor, red
for everything else.


How many times
will he pose
for photographs before the word

settles in? Never is a long time
to wait

for hot winds
to subside, for another image
to self-develop.

Hunger Bay

A food strike
won’t bring back
the words he lost

in mystery’s high
tide. Non-verbal
communication is

an art she hopes
to learn before nothing
washes ashore.