On the Books

A muscle spasm in my right calf
makes me think

about football.
I don’t know the rules.

We made up rules for swimming
and skating. Her parents made the rest.

After that one misstep, she took night walks
on city sidewalks with me vicariously.

So many sexy photos inside a pencil factory,
I don’t know how to love the pen anymore.

One more street haunter fetches a pencil
from a corner shop

at the long edge of civil twilight.
Virginia’s moth dies all over again.

Say you are a drop of water.
No, a flake—a snow flake

left on the window ledge
before it melts to become that drop

mentioned in the beginning.
If you spill into the lake,

we will see you from a perch
in the cottonwoods.

In the beginning,
the taxidermist made us laugh.

In the beginning,
the building was constructed

from dreams and whole trees,
not milled pieces of timber

or pocket stones
no one bothered to engrave.

In the beginning,
you are the tear I shed for that moth.

The day I start following an electric eel
from Chattanooga on Twitter

is the beginning
of another bout of homesickness.

In another beginning,
we play Double Dutch with an iron rope.

Cross the bridge
on a pogo stick.

Don’t count on keeping back 200 feet
from a fire truck on a mission,

or walking less than 200 feet
from the tavern to the temple.

Bless the Manhattan grid,
but in the Bronx the hills won.

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