Almost Astronomical Fall

Try not
to crush the leaf
you gather from the ground—
an early gift from the maple
uphill.

Press its
already turned
veined redness between two
pages of a dictionary
and pray

it will
absorb meaning
as frost coats the wooden
deck to the pedestrian bridge
at dawn.

This Lost Year

These irregular heartbeats.
This day’s anxiety
will subside just in time
for tomorrow’s to kick in.

To be so lucky
to have a kitchen
with a sink drain
that clogs,

a job
with a neverending stream
of crazy deadlines
to meet,

to have a city
neighborhood park
to negotiate threats
of theft in.

Or, are they rumors?

To be all alone
in an apartment
without new images
to trap on paper with ink.

To be so lucky
to have a heart,
to be able to breathe,
to live through it.

Tribute in Light Bird’s-Eye View

When one
thousand pairs of
wings get trapped in the beams
of searchlights, or one crashes to
the ground,

signs of
confusion, it’s
time to pause for twenty
moments to release us to the
darkness.

No one
wants more death to
further scar this date. Cries
fill the night. Please help me find my
way home.

End of Summer 1985

Maybe
I want to sit
on an old wooden bench,
becomes a swing that glides over
the sea.

Maybe
I don’t need these
vocal cords now that I’m
driftwood ready for air cushion
liftoff.

Maybe,
hovercrafting
across the channel that
last lazy summer is flying
enough.

Where were
you, rusty old
moon, that morning I waved
good-bye to France forever (it
turns out)?

A new
definition
of flight to read beneath
your carefully measured light from
a cliff.

Shouting
“Summer’s over!”
Drowned out by the loud whir
of propellers and turboshaft
engines,

no one
heard me whisper
“You, lua, luna, lune,
fengári, tell me how I will
know you

are there,
watching over
me, when I reach the Bronx
to begin my love affair with
New York?”

No one
save you, rusty
old moon. Skirting through air,
making record time on beams of
silver.

You’re No Good

Red, red
wine—drug of choice
till choosing had nothing
to do with it, empties clanking
below

his feet.
Which version do
you sing in the shower
when you want to forget the year
engraved

above
your left hip? Neil?
Paul? The tattoo exposed
your expiration date to him
and all

the young
barflies. The day
you left New York for good
(July 27, 1990)
or bad.

August

Her hips
expose limits.
Ragweed pollen on red
alert. Ambrosia not her drug
of choice.

All my
old addictions
wave to me as I go
round on a hand-painted steed. No
brass ring.

The trees
scream at her as
she turns to scream louder
at the written words she cannot
escape.

To keep
us from catching
anything, they are closed
for the season. Memories turn
to rust.

I use
the third person
to distance ourselves from
the Wurlitzer organ as it
plays on.

Stormy Night | These Sirens Too

funnel
cloud | old picnic
tables | salvaging wood
from barn doors | ride of the decade
so far

Why Preen

Who cares
about the shoes,
the dress you wore that night
under a moonless sky before
it rained.

Ducklings
waterproof their
feathers before they swim
across the pond. My reflection
would sink.

The song
of another
bird on another day
plays in my head on repeat. Can’t
mute it.

Liquid
lullabies lure
the lace from the hem line.
Who knows where the bulrushes will
go next.

Back to
that dress you wore
so well. What can I say
to convince you it’s great to be
alive?

Diamond Light Inside Union Chapel

Circuit
Avenue is
no longer mine to claim.
I must return the rope bracelet
tonight.

It was
never yours. Not
an islander. A girl
without a street, without a pail
to swing.

Let’s talk
about the square
that dreams of becoming
an octagon you can trust to
stop soon.

No one
knows what happened
to the thick plastic horse
that used to guard the entrance to
your tent.

I swear
I didn’t steal
your Pegasus. Would not
drown it in a bucket of salt
water.

Sadware,
even sadder
octopus trapped inside.
I do not know how to be your
hero.

Follow
me to the best
swimming hole down island
where feathers float on the surface
in pairs.

Let them
all go free. It’s
too late. The beach ball in
your hands deflated before you
were born.

Habitual

I used to be so imperfect
I would forget why
it matters.

You used to be so perfect
you could forget to define
what matters.

We used to be so
much matter behind
the forgotten cellar door.

Risers and treads once combined
to create crazy angles
and a steep decline

into these private subterranean cells
nowhere near the place
we used to call home.