Sun’s First Suspension

The morning’s unexcused
absence can lead to another,
then another, and
still another till

truncated days are
all we get. Our children’s

children will dream of civil
dawn the way we long
for a pristine shoreline, pine
forest, subway wall, guitar

riff. Saudade
for time of day

as much as for a place
or soul we never knew
renders us
human all over again.

Pin Bones and Other Floating Objects

To read upside
down even for an hour
without laughing

out loud, to spell out
all acronyms
subject to interpretation,

to whisper
so loudly periods explode

is to become a modern
dancer who courts

her shadow
when the coast is clear.

200 Days (or Spirit Varnish)

All the world’s
an ice rink
this morning before

the sun (no one can see
through freezing rain
and fear) fully rises. Where

did it go
when these bones began
to break and drop

to the lacquered
ground? Whose bones
will replace those
missing from this new silence?

Stand Up Cafe

I have become a double
shot espresso to make
the transition from afternoon

to evening smooth. To become civil
twilight burning full
force through

late winter urges
me onward. March’s
sooty snow be damned.

Flat Identity

Plastic hotel room
key cards—two of them—left
in her purse. Everything

express, everything
virtual. Where does reality
slide in and out

to open ourselves
to the image of a framed
painting of a woman

who holds a chain—silver
plated—from which her idea
of home dangles? In suspension,

her slender arms wind horizontally
as a marionette
from another era. It is another era

where photorealistic pictures
with paint thick as a thief’s
rubber sole hang in the balance.

A Poet Prepares for Her First AWP Conference

Relief that she is not
attending the regional pest
management conference
here in town

is not enough.

Sipping black coffee
in a refurbished hotel lobby
four blocks
from her apartment

is not enough.

Scribbling another reminder
note on a Post-It
not to forget PJs,
business cards, mouth wash

could be. Checking
the progress of that snowstorm
hovering over Boston
every 15 minutes

not likely. Exhaling
absolutely without question.

Hand Washing

A tiny soap bubble
forms, floats
through still air, drifts
to its ultimate

destination, demise
on porcelain
surface. More fragile
than her own ideas,

she turns away. Can’t bear
another scene
of destruction. Yet
the beauty of its gossamer

film stays with her
the rest of the day—bringing her more

strength than a thousand
poorly chosen words.