Separating Ions from Lions

I. The Salt Before the Wind-Borne

It’s been a year
since you wrote that one about being
lonely for mannequins.
Or were you just looking

for them? It’s so hard to encounter
your barely legible, barely younger
self. Imagine dying
in the arms of the City:

how the Beacon
+ 79th Street Boat Basin
are just the beginning.
A year since you’ve proclaimed

removable limbs come in handy
during pandemics.
You would rather run into the fire
+ risk melting

than strike another
hollow pose.

Do you remember how it feels
not to hear or read the word
multiple times a day?

Do you remember why reverse osmosis
made an appearance?
Were you really planning to distill
+ drink your tears as a cure?

This brackish sadness
will outlast the sun.
114 acres here, another spit
of land there—the entire planet.

Reparations or dignity restoration,
how do you quantify incalculable
cruelty? Sins that cannot be
forgiven or forgotten.

There is no pose left to strike
without a match.

II. Broadcast Lightning

I’m always writing two of them
simultaneously, never knowing
where to draw the line
in the mud, how to turn the page

so the ducks can swim in park puddles
again. Drunks too. Here I am desperate
to give reasons why
I became a dandelion.

His breath against my neck,
the freedom to wander,
the truth about weeds,
a wild dance

across the field
before they mow us down.

Aren’t poems equations that can’t be
solved? Things you snap
your fingers to + please
no clapping.

An avalanche
of frozen peas spills into the steamer.
An avalanche
of anguish + anxiety.

An avalanche
of gratitude for the color green
+ tiny globes—
ours is more blue than any other.

And still, this thirst tears us apart,
tree limb by tree limb.

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