Boom Stand

I saw a man dance
with a praying mantis
tonight. I tried
not to be
jealous, but I was. She looked
hungry. I’ve said a prayer
for him but fear his dismount
will be his last.


Long white to black strand
of hair trapped in the hinge
of an airplane tray
table in its upright
position. Back on
land, crickets don’t use
their legs to chirp. They use
their wings. I have none, I hear
nothing over this city din.

Half Civil Twilight

I don’t believe
in mermaids. But
I know some
would rather swim
than run, float
than fly, dive
than dig. I don’t wish
to be one—just want
to imagine you
dreaming about me
with a long shimmering tail.

Cannot Speak Montana

What I saw is a secret.
In whispers, I must only hint at
a northern Rimrock ridge,
a chain of snow-capped mountains called Beartooth,
unnaturally drawn carvings into a landscape from plane view
I could not identify,
irrigation ditches said the gentle guide at road level,
a canal where I would go
the last morning to pray,
the only way I know how.

Monday morning on my feet snaking a bicycle wheel-wide path
without falling, out of practice, forgetting the verses,
all the pauses and kneeling that must be choreographed just so

till I see what I must only whisper,
till I can take my trail mass to his bedside,
tell him louder than Roman chants
that I ran along his altar,
was trailing after him one more time,
while he rested half a lifetime of roads
into the quietest missal you can read
only if you close your eyes to hear,
your ears to see.

It is a secret
I must whisper. Two nights ago
with your hand tight around mine,
your breath tight around time,
yelling with lips through which nothing comes,
defying you to give me more road,
more trail you have in you than a mere cartographer,
to unfold before me,
whether or not I will be able to fold it up flat again.

I must only whisper
how the ridge and the ditches and the sky captivate,
can only whisper
how you, my father, must not die tonight,
can only whisper what you see, have seen,
I saw, am seeing—
this secret Big Sky.

Rain Before Heat Waves

Steam doesn’t rise
the way she dreamed
when she could

remember to watch
for it. Infrasound below
a register she recognizes

could still
cause a syndrome

or vibration
or jarring

thought to be
released into wind
bursting overnight.


Left leaning
too much spiral
not enough straight
on till dawn. Or,
at least till
the wooded trail breaks

onto a field
of heather
and black-eyed Susans.

The voice behind
the motion
will not reveal itself. Maybe
its body (if it has one)
will heal
faster incognito.

Sub Rosa

Don’t write about doing
it—do it

(my father would say). Or do
it first, then record it,
relive it, a chance to cheat

time. This life is
no diorama
of a scene on the Brooklyn Bridge

130 years ago. I cannot be
compartmentalized like
a sea room

in the vast Atlantic
on a quiet night.


She won’t say
a word to break
the spell
of bewilderment
she’s waited
so patiently
to be

under. Rarely
does she want
to cast her own.

Another August

Again the month
of grandeur
in grief appears
on the calendar.
A grid of days

leading to the day
the floor, the foundation
to my house
of stability gave
way. A crumbling

to open
all invisible doors

to go forward
without him.