I Am the Story

lost inside facing pages
to some biography,
the ones that stuck together
during the printing process.

A triple rainbow stretches over
the city’s modest skyline
after a sudden downpour
at the end of a sunny June afternoon.

Real waves rumble across
the tiny downtown lake.

No time to ask how long
it takes to paint a rooster blue.
How much longer
to build a scaffold

around it to retouch the parts
time and weather swallowed up.

I would have chosen moths
to burst through a tear in the screen
rather than those mosquitoes.
I’m obviously not from here.

This city never chose me
the way I chose it.
How long does it take
to answer the question: Why

are you here?
I’m not the only one.

A tale of two Midwestern cities:
It was the best of times.
It was the worst of times.
It was, no, not that one.

My sister and I sat in a bar once
and watched the boats
go up and down
the terrifyingly calm Cuyahoga.

From another planet, I watched you leap.
Picnic tables
beneath paper lanterns
hanging everywhere.

You wore my dress. You sang “O, Canada”
as you walked out the door.

More picnic tables
and strange, tacky decorations.
We left the trailer and walked
hand-in-hand to the wooden gate.

You said: “Never mind what I said before.”
We even talked about Virginia Woolf.

You said: “Damn it, pick up that pen
and start writing poetry again.”
You said: “You’re perfect.”
You said you didn’t have time for me.

I am the stitches dropped
in that perfect binding.
I will never be fully justified
or ragged right.

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