All My Favorite Photos of You

Gone. Somewhere on the #1 train
between the Bronx and Chelsea.

I shouldn’t have kept them
all in my wallet. Should have kept
a mousetrap in my pocket.

It had been only a year.
I should have paced myself.
I was too young

and naïve to fathom your absence.
You were the one who understood
limits and functions. No thief

can steal the symbol for infinity
we etched into the ice with our skates
on the Thornton Park rink.

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The Wall Will Weep

Never been to Berlin.
This sunny cold
morning in the alley
behind my front-of-
house apartment life
brings me to tears.

It’s the wind
except when
it isn’t. I used to be
all back of house.
Haven’t lived
in one in decades.

The child who plays
the xylophone won’t fear
the way traditional ballads
get wedged in,
how low
his chant goes,

the way trees bend
to kiss her.

April Ransom Note

I choose this
morning, this cold, this sun, this empty
room, faulty light fixture, interior wall without
art, this last word

affixed to a kite tail
not unwound, not dusted off, or dragged
through the cellar door up the red stairs yet.
A last word

that bargains for scraps
of wood from a broken fence and bare vine stems
to escape traces of the not literally, but lyrically,
cruel.

sunk relief

not snowing
her cold smile
preserves the space
between empty
mailboxes

their maws frozen
half open

it’s not optimism
that makes her
think so

the smashed rock
glass was
swept off
the bedroom
floor years ago

that she can’t
remember who
held the broom
or the color
of the eyes

that followed
its strokes

that she does
remember the whiskey’s
deep leather hue

that hinge
between alcoholic
palimpsest and
the minor key
that traps images

inside vivid
ghost craters

does not
rust in
this bitter air

Ride to the End of the Last Stroke

I want nothing
more than to be
writing another poem
on a train

as it tunnels through
January fog. Who

knew the impression
could cloak
so well. Who knows

where my bare shoulders
will reappear, or when.

Then the fonts—
so physical, so metallic—
will leak precious
angel spit.

Brood

I remember the number
three and the hill
I drew to depict
life beyond the lagoon.

I remember the three
swings and the starfish
we killed trying
to rescue it.

Turns out they split
in half, transform
from girl to boy to girl again
without our help.

Even then, I knew
to feel guilty

about catching an extra
whiff of gasoline
in the old shingled garage.

Even then, I was
beginning to forget why.

21-Gram Dream

Before I died,
the world flashed a still
photo so quickly
I didn’t have time

to measure its border
against the shore wrack line.

Now a film flickers
on storied brick
with no end or beginning—
only the between.

Everything else
hides behind the wrong
color on the wrong
block. Tin tile

wainscoting wraps
around the hem
of a skirt
no one dares to own.

qual/quan

Inches on a dual scale ruler
splay awkwardly
compared to the centimeters’
compact grid.

So quiet in the cafe,
no eavesdropping
will mark the morning.
Just the sound of

fingertips slamming
MacBook keys, a page
being torn
from an actual notebook,

a ceramic mug gently returning
to the table. My thumb
measures 2 inches, just over
5 centimeters. I can’t decipher

the meaning
in that sliver
of well-worn skin.
Can’t decode

the evolution
of our differences.

The miles or kilometers
that separate our memories.

Those leap seconds
desperately applied

to align
our hearts.

Lining Inside

“The held breath of the world at 5 pm in winter.”
—Garth Risk Hallberg, City on Fire

She keeps her pockets empty.
Daylight is precious this time of year.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Driverless cars will give the unlicensed permission to feel.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Thick gloves interrupt her thoughts indoors.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The time has come to make room for winter.

She keeps her pockets empty.
A small bird chirps behind a tree trunk.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Everywhere else is too full the day after.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The wind slips through so easily.

She keeps her pockets empty.
The park reopens before dawn.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Some skylines regenerate like livers.

She keeps her pockets empty.
No kangaroo crosses her path or breaks her stride.

She keeps her pockets empty.
When an actor forgets his lines, she remembers how to scream.

She keeps her pockets empty.
Geocachers lose themselves inside a discovered letterbox.

She keeps her pockets empty
to make room for an exhale of visible breath.

So Many Questions for a Saturday Morning

Ten degrees below freezing,
a petticoat of ice forms

along the southern edge
of the pond.

Or is it a lake?
What’s the difference?

Do you make weather, or
does the weather make you?

Ask the ducks and geese.
They know. Why

are they still here?
It’s time for them to go.

Quick, before the first snowfall.
Are you shallow or deep?

Does the light go through you
to the bottom?

A month ago
it was a floral lace slip.

Noon will crush morning soon.
Quick, do you

make the weather, or
does weather make you?