First Snow

A light lilts over
wet roads, the grass
barely covered.

Slow moments,
fast ones, some
carving a channel between.

She doesn’t know which
she wants to set
the rhythm of her day.

It’s not just hers.
Not really hers at all. Gratitude

comes in shades of blue,
or is it green to gold.
Soon, so soon, too soon,

in the dark,
she can’t tell.

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Lining Inside

“The held breath of the world at 5 pm in winter.”
—Garth Risk Hallberg, City on Fire

She keeps her pockets empty.
Daylight is precious this time of year.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Driverless cars will give the unlicensed permission to feel.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Thick gloves interrupt her thoughts indoors.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The time has come to make room for winter.

She keeps her pockets empty.
A small bird chirps behind a tree trunk.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Everywhere else is too full the day after.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The wind slips through so easily.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The park reopens before dawn.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Some skylines regenerate like livers.

She keeps her pockets empty.
No kangaroo crosses her path or breaks her stride.

She keeps her pockets empty.
When an actor forgets his lines, she remembers how to scream.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Geocachers lose themselves inside a discovered letterbox.

She keeps her pockets empty
to make room for an exhale of visible breath.

Interrogation Point (U+2E2E)

IMG_3495

what if
tonight’s full moon cracks
spills onto our tree branches

what if there is no moon
at all
ever again

what if an empty room
roars at double the decibels
of a packed music venue

and the voices
are all yours

what if what if
is eliminated
from our vocabulary

and the ?
becomes an earring
you lost years ago

all the answers
might tumble
off the shelf

when you open
the closet door

and the shape of hangers
will signify
our dismay

Triptych

you can’t fake a fold
when you really crave a cut
or a curve

when wearing earbuds
in a cafe sounds like nonsense
to your unplugged ears

when you see a red sky
at night
not in the morning

when you don’t believe
in worshipping
any trinity

when you wish for a gale
but settle for an exhale

and a scream
from your false vocal folds
becomes the truth

So Many Questions for a Saturday Morning

Ten degrees below freezing,
a petticoat of ice forms

along the southern edge
of the pond.

Or is it a lake?
What’s the difference?

Do you make weather, or
does the weather make you?

Ask the ducks and geese.
They know. Why

are they still here?
It’s time for them to go.

Quick, before the first snowfall.
Are you shallow or deep?

Does the light go through you
to the bottom?

A month ago
it was a floral lace slip.

Noon will crush morning soon.
Quick, do you

make the weather, or
does weather make you?

Escalator Guts

Exposed.
A garbage kiosk
blocks the lower landing.
It’s a long way down. Hardened
debris won’t cushion
the fall. The metallic taste
of words she spits out
lingers on the roof of her

A mannequin in men’s
activewear impersonates
one eighth of an octopus—
the left arm unhinged
and dangling
from a blue checked
jersey sleeve,
extra long.

No beak, no spin, no ink,
no sea, no reason
to trust anything
as it seems. A drawn curtain
means keep out
or keep in.
Not an invitation
to slither through.

Silence coils
a tight spring

under her breath
into an empty lift

she uses to unload
her fear

of continuous loops
and fire escapes.

I Go To

a dark place
with all the lights out
the death of dictionaries
leaves me empty

afraid to speak
more afraid not to

a dark place
where Steely Dan plays
on the radio
and I’m too numb

to change
the station

who listens
to the radio anymore
who listens
for the train

that already disappeared
down a tunnel
darker than the dark
I go to

Royal Flush

I find the king
of hearts I never knew
I was looking for

over the hill
beneath the pines

he’s face down
on the paved trail
not in the road

where that unidentifiable dead
animal has melded
into the pavement

I almost don’t bother
but can’t resist

I pick him up
without knowing
what I have in my hand

without caring
where he’s been
I flip him over

without looking for
the others

don’t need a full deck
I’ll be 52 soon

City Park Disorienteering

Yo, Brooklyn! Oy, Manhattan!
An elevated freight railway into the High Line.
An underground trolley terminal
could become the LowLine.

Remember the waterfall
under the Brooklyn Bridge.

You’re so left-handed,
just drop the ball
and run. No amount of FoMO
will catch you if

you avoid the beaten

pathology. If you find yourself
lost in your favorite urban
wilderness, look for
that Swedish Cottage

where marionettes reign.

Living a few moments
with strings attached
could help you locate
your next experience.

If you find yourself lost

anywhere near
the finish line,
dig out that chalk,
draw a new line.