With Sloping Shelves

Multicolored book
trucks still roll
into view. She muzzles
herself as she drifts

to a one-room
library circa 1970. Rain dazzles
the surface
of the island. The scent

of Mylar, settled-in
type, a lilac
perfume on the librarian
who reads

Blueberries for Sal
to a circle
of restless children. Next stop,

next town, the Flying Horses
to ring themselves off.
Then it fades away.

10 Months

Another 27th day hits
the way heat slaps

my face when I leave
an air-conditioned

shell. He would have walked
in it—no matter

what. I mention an MIT cap
and ring to a young architect

who knows
the Institute well. He says

as much as it changes
it remains the same. My father

faced change,
loved the same.

300 Days

A super moon rises a day after
trees came down and a quarter of the city

was left powerless. Before
you were gone

from not just your body
but your mind, you would have counted

on that extra full
lunar event to anchor us

a little more securely
to life. Before and after.

Downed

The longest
day of the year collapses

into darkness
hours too early. Another bout

of extreme
weather rumbles

through—tears trees
from their roots

like a cat
shedding for summer. Power

lost, flash
flooding drowns

the whimsy
of solstice

ceremonies. Dances
over the river

cannot stop it
from spilling over too far.

If She Reads Too Much

Into this
collision of events—

an anniversary and
an announcement.
An epitaph nodding

at a long dead
affair gets plastered
with a bill blasting

a live
threat. A reunion

of the soundtrack
that did her in. She could peel
it off—the stone would still

be cool. But these words
are not.

June 12: 22 Years Later

It comes around once
a year like any other
with a morning,

noon, afternoon, civil
twilight reminder. The Cuyahoga

River at dusk. A boat docked
in the Flats. An outdoor stage. The opening
act. Guitars. Dance in black

leggings and a royal blue
floral button down baby
doll dress with pockets.

Is it mine? The first
kiss, beer on tap, another kiss,
more beer on tap. Stouffer Inn, magic elevator

carpet. Room service pizza.
Clothes off. Jokes on
all night. Nothing dies

within your reach
again. A child who would be
21 by now is not mine
or yours—is the night’s own.

From Seed to Glass

Prairie vodka—a beverage
I will never taste. Made in Minnesota.
Property tax—a phrase
I’ll never utter

in Minnesota
or anywhere else. Show tune—
a collection of verses
I will never

memorize. I see rhinoceros—
a warping I will never stop
laughing over.

Organic drunk—
an oxymoron I still remember
how to translate.