Ice Everywhere There Was Fire

What’s the sun got to do with it?
asks a defiant gibbous moon, rising, as below
it and high enough, an eagle broods
her eggs in a blanket of snow
up to her head’s white plumage.

What’s the sun got
to do with it? Without
artificial light, you live

in a house of shadows
overlooking a bog that stores emotions
like a museum before it’s broken
open morning after morning
to reveal wrong turns

diagrammed in
left-handed scribble.
What’s the sun got to do

with it? Happiness
is a gold lamé gown
worn with confidence on a warm
fall evening under all those other stars.
Each season wears its glory

as a nod
to the knotted
hands of a celestial

seamstress. Another casualty
of forced labor, or
interstellar interloper,
who would know. The bot
is lying again. No one asked:

what’s the sun
got to do
with it? Refresh or revolt.

February 25, 1974

I remember the day you were born
and I was told. Our sister
ran up the driveway, shouting
just after high noon:

“It’s a boy! It’s a boy!”

And she was right,
the Ouiji board was not.
She was right there,
you were somewhere
in a hospital I had come to hate.

I wanted you home,
wanted you to bring our mother with you,
so she could play her sacred
organ music again with those tiny
(critics say too small) hands and feet.

I was tired of waiting
for you. Tired
of waiting
for you
to bring our mother home.

But you needed time to incubate.
You were so tiny and perfect.
Shockingly perfect
given how little time
you gave yourself to compose.

And when you did come home,
and you brought our mother with you,
she dressed you in all white
knit sweaters and hats.
And I thought, no.

You should wear a different color—
maybe navy, perhaps gray,
no, definitely black—
and then, and only then, some white
in a minor key.

I wanted to invert the piano.
Wanted the sharps and flats
all white. I wanted
all the naturals
black. I wanted you to know this.

And so when I was told
you were here for me to feed
one quarter time,
I let you know
to reverse the piano

more than half time. I let you know
that you and I endangered our mother
twisting and breaking
our way into this world.

To honor her, we must
keep twisting and breaking
our way
into each moment alive

because it’s better that way.
Because I am so glad
you came home
and brought our mother with you.


She chases balloons
so high

in the sky when
she should have bought

a brownstone row house by now.
She reaches across

an immense empty

metal bucket to touch
a movable wall when

her fingers go numb
for a brief stretch.

When dark ridges
evenly spaced

between thin bars,
darker still,

conceal a silent wreck.
A naggingly familiar

terrain appears when
she closes her eyes:

the sycamore forest
where everything began.

The urge to drop

into the void
to hear the hollow

drum sound explode
across a cavernous room

grows when
she opens them.

When marbles were rolling
beneath a butcher block

table faster than any boulders
she could flick away,

knuckles down. The ones
she polished

so religiously, so lovingly
that summer

when anything
that might interfere

with the physics
of lust was on

high alert. When a 360°
view of Vermont hills

was never enough.

The momentum of another
tabula rasa season,

when it was still possible
to collect Connecticut rivers

and streams and quarries
into a canvas cinch pouch

for safe keeping,
would not recur for decades.

When she stops
wondering if the blood

alleys ever reached the bottom
to nestle among so many rusted

motorcycles and shopping carts
protecting faded dinosaur tracks.


“When he saw her expiration date,
he knew she was no good”

has always been the best
caption to accompany the tattoo

on her hip:
July 27, 1990.

When she left New York City,
he didn’t come looking for her.

When the handwriting twists
and drips and drags

and the view upside down
brings more than a blush

and ears burning. When
she closes her eyes

to bless the bats and
rights herself in time

to witness another solar ballet.
When they had front row seats

to an aurora borealis
decorating the Iceland sky.

And he almost kissed her again
after half

a lifetime swirled by
in greens and purples

and, no, a piece of the sun
did not break off.

With a name like Cathexis,
he knew she was doomed.

When an invisible being
in the woodwork watches her

move across the night
into a saturated morning,

his paralysis reaches
new heights.

When floods follow fires
and the flashing firmament

dances off the margins
of a biblical myth.

A gull flies overhead
as the ferry pushes through

the icy water, and, still, she can’t
let go.

Twigs | Blades | Digs

And then the groundhog died.
No weather breeder,

neither calm
nor a forecaster

of future tempests.
Once upon a


was the same thing
as the storm

pounding the bay, or
wrecking your head. Rites of

passage. Temporal
differences in behavior

separate us. Your day
begins as the great horned owl’s

ends. Remember
when your nocturnal behavior

led to these scraps
of paper. Unrecognizable

handwriting in
an unidentifiable language

that curls | collides | crashes
before leaking

off the page.

It’s not a question
mark. It’s a pipe

you won’t light.
A bar we can’t erase.

You are so beyond
vaping. Know nothing

about navigating helicopters
through the fog.

We can’t drag
an atmospheric river

in search of survivors.
They say

it died while hibernating
in its den late last year.

(not created with ChatGPT)