A New Layer

Discovered in Earth’s mantle. What
would it take to leave

the troposphere
for the stratosphere
for the mesosphere? All the way
to the thermosphere. What

about the pauses between? What
do I really know

about my own epidermis,
dermis, hypodermis? What
if I discovered a hidden layer

in there? Would you come
looking for me there?

Thaw Clause

Frozen shut for months,
a gate begins to swing. She swallows,
breathes in warming air. Time
to speak up again. Letters taste as foreign

as rusted hinges
and shallow pools
of sweet brine. So many alphabet
flavors to acquire.

Another Day in March

I’m having your
miscarriage is the worst
song title since the one
that begins
dyslexic. Sometimes I do

the math. To torture
myself, yes, but more
to torture the memory
of a daughter (not son)
that never got constructed

to be forgotten. I carry
this bus transfer
from a Monday morning
in March with me
in my purse to be

a birthday card
to my 23-year-old child.

To be memento mori
for you and me.

End of Winter

The hot
water gushing
from the ceiling
for example. Artificial

tears from a tiny
bottle. The expiration

date tattooed
on her hip. No
one checked there.

The Mind Is a Dangerous Neighborhood

Don’t wake
the monster inside.

Quiet as you go. Don’t feed
the geese on the pond

behind the castle
where the monster lives.

They’ll get used
to it. Demand more.

Ever been pecked
or bitten into submission?

Nothing fun
about it. If your wrist aches

from sleeping on it
funny, spend your waking

days doing something funnier
than planning

your own wake
with the sound on mute.

You Always Win

“Living it up
at the Hotel
California” tortures her
with gray
memories. She’ll blame

it on the antihistamines.
The way coffee appears
in that translucent cobalt
blue mug. The way
each word laid down

suddenly looks foreign
to her eye. Backwards
is an unwanted side-to-side
motion she has no rudder
to stabilize.

She doesn’t purchase
the wobble
board. Gets no purchase
behind the joke.
Hypochondria never

took off
so gracefully. Never
mind the landing.

Just Another New Dog Exercise

When the sequence
of events leading to your NDE

gets fuzzy,
you may think

you are cured. A sore
arch and bruised

thigh don’t need to sound
off uninterruptible alarms

when you know
their origins. Never mind yours.

His. Ours. Endings.
Just the facts.


If she’s really letting me


for the first time, I don’t know
where to begin. All those stories
about drawing pictures
in the moonmilk
inside ancient caves and rods
taking longer than cones
to adjust to the dark. That’s not how

I would talk. I don’t have a lisp
or thick Minnesota accent, or
New England one. I will sing
quietly about iron
rail bridges and natural rock
formations and the view
from the top. That’s

exactly what I will do if
she’s for real this time.


Looking past the ice
on the pond, she decides
facts get in the way.
She could fast forward

to spring
with the right attitude.
She’s more afraid of prose
poetry than formal verse

or 140-character chants.
She walks the perforated

line between
with a hot beverage
in her hand and shouts:
Be refreshed.