Five Months

Half the Sunday
paper on Saturday.
I would leave the business

section folded, unread
for him. All that caution—
still he preferred

The Wall Street Journal. Grilled
salmon with his secret
marinade sauce

in the years
I ate fish. It always came down
to The Run or The Walk—

capital T, capital R, or
capital T, capital W.

The Asbury Park
boardwalk. Trails
in South Mountain Reservation.

The Delaware
and Raritan
Canal State Park.

The Mississippi
riverfront overlooking
Saint Anthony Falls.

The Kinsale
Old Head before
it became a golf course.

From those Kokomo
rural routes to
a nursing home hallway,

so many other roads, trails,
paths, passageways
to his life. If I could begin

today, how many days,
months, years would it take
to map it all? If I can recall

a path a day, I might
make a little bit of progress
the way he wished.

Discard Pile Thief

“We quote each other only when we’re wrong.”
—Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo), from “High Water” (Anodyne)

A half dozen
roses tossed
onto a snow bank. A garment
bag with wheels
going in circles
on a carousel

of time. Three
sisters, one
mother, a wife, two
children under
four. One father—
recently dead. A box of notes

for a novel
scrapped without
a plot. A birthday
gift for a modern
novelist—long dead. A bowl
of yellow split

pea soup without
a spoon. Six
roses in the wrong

kind of water.
The dialogue
that preceded them.

All the quotation
marks she saved
just in case.

Speech Therapist for the Angels

For Sheri

As we recall
her in unison,

I believe I can hear her
mocking herself

for the way she said
“button.” I mock myself

for quickening my pace
to out-walk

my shadow. She’s been gone
so long, so much longer

than she was alive.

Different flashbacks
to those secrets still safe

with me. And how the angels do sing
through their stutters and lisps

thanks to her
and how she can still give it away.