Not Everything Nearly Went Bankrupt in the 70s

There was meeting you. And younger
brothers—real
and imaginary. My first close encounter

with the third eye of a stormy
near collapse. No time for window-shopping.
A blur, and I would be back. In the midst

of it, I didn’t know that yet. You
would die before I got so dirty
in the gritty City

I couldn’t escape
a never-ending love affair
not even moving would break. And

I didn’t get to tell you about it
when you were alive, so how about now?

Once upon a time,
a 13-year-old girl emerged
from Penn Station,
and so it begins.

They Were Identical

She pitches pennies
on the floor in the back
of a New York taxi cab
with twins

she used to know. Thirty-five
years. Nap dreams mean

nothing unless she chooses
to shape them
into visions to augment
the afternoon light.

She’s not going to
google those boys—

learned her lesson.
She doesn’t want to kill
off any more of her past
sooner than it needs to expire.

Town & Country

She sees an old station
wagon with faux wood
paneling parked on the street
outside the Armory—now a parking
garage. In by 9, stay till 3
for the early bird special. It’s not

the ‘70s. She can’t hear Johnny
Nash sing “I Can See Clearly Now”

from an AM radio. Nothing
good can come from trying
to go back there. In a dream,
she is driving to Texas
on interstates in the dark
behind her sister and brother-in-law

till she remembers:
she doesn’t drive.

Van Aken Boulevard Rhetoric

In the basement between
the family and laundry
rooms, a yellow wall
phone hangs—always ready
to be used. And we did
with alarming frequency. Track

lighting reflected in this mug
of coffee twinkles the way
those bulbs screwed into that cellar
ceiling between pipes
never could. Who were we
talking to all those hours? Who’s left

in our lives? I have answers,
and it doesn’t matter. No one expects
them—that’s how it works.