Wound Up +/- Down

I just want to know who
will go canoeing with me
some other Wednesday evening
when those cardinals
don’t blend so well
into the sky.

If I bring the oars,
who will bring the lake?
Please don’t worry
about the rain.
We wish
it would rain here.

Meet me behind the switchback
stair in the middle
of my dream.
I wave to the woman
who climbs up and down
the pedestrian bridge steps

each morning. How many sets
does she do as I walk
through the sculpture garden
into a new day?
She’s been missing all week.
Where did she go?

This tiny blister
on my left foot
is the last straw.

This is war
I don’t believe in.
This is the silent treatment.
I keep my jaw clenched,
so no words of weakness
leak out.

I smell my own fear—
salt mixed with a hint
of hemlock. No, that’s not it.
More peppermint than radish.
More mango than marmalade.
A dash of vinegar of course.

More invasive than I care to admit.
Hypnagogic or hypnopompic,
I can’t tell sometimes.

Alone in a crowd again.
It’s a relief
to see you, cardinal,
not another red-winged
blackbird too eager
to defend the nest.

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