Her biannual dream
of him gets cut short
by the cat’s early morning
demands. In it, a hotel

room filled with lost
friends bleeds over
a highway bike ride
she would never take

awake. A memory
of drinking vodka
martinis in a tree
under a warm Connecticut

night sky fades into forgetting
the last time she saw

his face: he’s married / everyone’s
married / generalizations
every one of them / a drive
back to New York City after

a Northampton, Mass., wedding /
a carload of drunken
college students at a drive-in
movie theater / a run

by the Long Lane School
( years before the suicide)
at midnight / making love
with a cast

on her foot in a Bronx studio /
those step streets come into play
again / he smoked, she didn’t,
he quit, she started, she quit, the air

they breathe no longer
shared / it’s no longer
early / time
to feed the cat

With or Without Spaces

The man who scrubs
one patch of facade bricks
for hours
could use some

graffiti begone. Must be
an app for that.
An app for this—
I won’t download. How to

tag beauty,
tweet truth.

Here’s what
happened: She dated
a shepherd. But
that’s not it. The basement

beneath the basement
counts. Compact stacks could
be where accidents happen
but never do. Stop.

Reset. Move right. Move left. 140 more
to go.

The Offing

Graffiti in the fresh
snow concealing a stone
wall. A window

that opens both ways—
from the top and
from the bottom.

The squirrel electrocuted
by a power line.
The lights that go out

temporarily. A freshly lit
match and a beeswax candle.

The ever so slightly
sweet honey scent

of your sweat
that lingers
after you’ve left the cabin.


I wrote a song
for you
that has no title
I wrote a title
for me
that has no poem

slightly surreal

could be a park after
dark don’t go
inside the theater
has been closed
longer than the lifespan
of most dolphins

or meerkats
ever so slightly

surreal could be a weather condition
like ice
what’s the difference

between freezing
rain and hail
between a swarm

of locusts and helicopters
or bees

rising up
to get their revenge

Born Yesterday

Your big sister runs
to meet you
the way my big sister ran
down the driveway
to tell me the news

when your father was born.
Some broken chain

link fences
are mended overnight
while we sleep.
Some cynicism
can be cured.

Leo—you are a healer
one day into it.

Cones and Rods

How many moons—no—
how many movies—no—
how many planetariums—no—wait—
how many drinks

does it take
to adjust to the dark?
Eyes open or shut.

Water Dancer

for Sheri

She knows every inch of the dock,
every splinter, barnacle,
hurricane-spared stilt.

It is not a plank. It’s just where she walks.
And she knows how to dive,
has been doing it for years.

No easing shore side into the wash for her,
she plunges in and is used to it
before others wake.

This is underworld—closets, caves, shelves,
trenches, forests, hydromedusa, brittle
stars, Painlevé’s camera. This is where she should live—

she who in her heart is a sponge
is a sponge is a sponge.

To lay out to dry, to become exposed
to air, the rising sun. It is her death

to be before all of you. She will never work a room,
works the ocean floor
for all it’s worth.

Metal crushes metal, emergency sirens approach closer

and closer. A muffled distortion
underwater. Leave her uncontained.
She would rather synchronize her own sculls outside a tank

than be confounded by a mirage of roses
she can’t reach without a body.

Hermit Crab

The first adaptive
reusers before
it became trendy
to convert a shoe

box into,
well, anything

besides a shoe
box. A covered bridge
into an amphitheater
for Amish punk gigs. A Dairy
Queen into a library
that houses reels
of documentary films
and mysterious microfiche. Summer
mansion into convent into
venue for flying
garters and bouquets.
Do they still do that?

No vacancy
chain. Everyone’s hoteling

it now. Or, hot desking
without reservation.
Anything to protect the soft abdomen
from invaders.

Just a Few More Tags

Graffiti grief guardian
angel Atlantic
Ocean Big Sur Book
of Blues love lyric
Martha’s Vineyard memory
poetry recover recovery
recycle reprieve roots
saudade silence sky-
way soul take
no heroes hotel the Bronx
train truth
urban weather

Gunn Red

Seeps into the foundation. Inks
its way through sand, clay, silt, even

into a blessed sinkhole.
The color of a Redbird before

it became a reef
off the Slaughter

Beach coast. The need for sacrifice
grows so great. Infestation

an epidemic. All those heroes
on the loose, out of control.