There Go the Leaves

Time to stop
memorizing erased lines.

Forget borders to red
and gold memories

of events
she didn’t experience.

No one did,
or no one’s admitting

anything. Brown
branches claw their way

through a charcoal sky
to the other side.

And she kisses drizzled air,
so relieved to live

where four seasons
dare to break through.


She keeps writing
the wrong year
at the top of blank pages.
The one before this one.

She faces a white wall.
Imagines climbing it
to come home. An ache

from the strain burns
deep inside her thighs.
A PJ Harvey song
floats through her.

She’s a poet now.
A strengthening wind
cuts a metallic sky.

A sickness coats every strand
of thought, patch
of skin. Longing spreads
in square feet

across the poorest fen
to her heart. The ruler
she measures it with

smells like black honey,
sounds like Chopin
vodka bottles being pulled
from a bed of ice.

Or nothing at all
like it—
nothing at all.

Rich Fen Poor Fen

Set me on fire
to awaken dormant seeds
to a hidden life.

These trees do not tell
the truth
I can whisper to you.

I am my own invasive species
waiting to be reduced
to carbon and ash.

Someone tell me
where I can find the map
to my true water regime.

I wait in rushes
for the right one
to unroll at my feet.

The one that will lead
to a mire
native to my heart.

She’ll Float

A dab of red
paint or polish
left on a wooden
four-top. Glossed over,

she refuses to be
completely forgotten.
None of them says
good-bye. They just leave

a trail of phantoms
with black
(and blue)
nails and lips.

She doesn’t ride
the train with any of them.

One drowned
in his own
swimming pool
(no vomit)

like a chipmunk
or rolling stone
or unidentified man
seeking a closer look.

She swims
in oceans
and tidal straits.
Always hated baths.

Did I Lose You

when I said
the love of my life
is a city—The City.

When I reminded you
of an attraction
that can only strike

when you’re 17 and 19,
or 20 and 22, or
even that’s too late.

Too late to remember
when to hold hands,
when to let go.

When I dared
to defy the backward constellation
on the Grand Central ceiling.

When I refused to telegraph
my good-bye through the lower concourse
whispering gallery.

And we never shared
martinis inside the Oyster Bar.


An archaeological dig
through her future
losses reveals
more sand than clay
in the ground
she will cover. Sharper
tools made of bone
and hair exhibit
the demise of demure
flirtations. She will not fool
around. No heroes
will get in her way.
Lignin samples under
fingernails expose
an addiction to bark
and escape by climbing.
Will she chase
or be chased?
That nearby ghost
forest supports speculation
she will swim before she crawls.

October Here to There in Six Easy Steps


She digs through the closet
in search of that bag
filled with stupid knit
hats and gloves. Sooner

and sooner trespasses with ice
and wind and snow.


The experiment fails
on the old Iron Range.
Where are those damn mittens?
Before it’s too late,

come down
to your senses.


Steal this plot
instead. Dance on
CBGB’s grave. Recite
a poem on the other side

of the Bowery, or in the alley
that tells no secrets.


Use your imagination.


The rhythm will follow—
down a sidewalk grate,
land on top of a subway train
heading to Brooklyn,

become unrecognizable
when it resurfaces


in Coney Island.
It will ask itself:

How did I get here?
You will answer:

All beats lead to a beach
on an island no longer an island in fall.

Full Scaley

If she could print
a durable lover
whose limbs wouldn’t snap off
during the vacuuming stage.

And a little boathouse
where he could rest at night.

And a custom runabout
for early morning wakeboarding.

If, then
she would print
his kisses in burnished colors
to match the October sky.

With Broad Nails & Broken Homes

When I say bevel
my corners,
I mean those places
where I go
to break
from the tyranny

of worshipping parallel
lines. My love

of trains
and sidewalks
may outlast all others.
I thrive
on nonsense.
Feed me at daybreak

more than you can
import in a month.

I will be starved
for more before another blood
memory snaps
all the tree branches
and crashes on
the roof at noon.

The drinking
glass I smashed

last night
will heal by evening
if you want. If I want,
I go to one
of those corners
and search

for exposed edges
to my heart

to file down. Any
woodworking tool will do.

True or False Bugs in Little Summer & Other Tales of Incomplete Metamorphosis

Not gonna be about holy rollers
going at it outside a tavern
on a Sunday morning.

Not gonna try to define this 24 hour
heatwave in October
after a killing frost
saying that other thing

Not gonna capture one image
of a late season lady
beetle on the fence
with a thousand words

Not gonna measure
a life’s worth
with a sounding line or hug.

Not gonna say never say never.
Not gonna say never forget
having already forgotten why.

Gonna rest
on this buoy
for a spell.