Yearbook: A Found Poem

“There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face.”
—William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Black and white is better.
A chance to sing
with the prettiest
soccer player he ever coached is best

between the pipes. The choral
room fades into a late-night debate
séance. A rude awakening—you
were no challenge to her

even before she got so lonely
on her mountain. Did you get your kiss
beside a pile of broken
chairs? Behind another brick

in the wall? Bonfire flames
and umbrella silhouettes
become an unfinished
symphony. The egg

drop comes before those fish drawn
on their foreheads in crayon. You make me long

for the artless construction
of your face.

Each time I pull out a calculator
I feel that disapproving
look outweigh your seductive
glint. It doesn’t add up—nothing

does since I discovered you
were gone to the numbers
bonfire beyond. And you’ve been monitoring
the flame for years. Where was I?

I never let you take me
to the Take No Heroes Hotel.
Now I’ve misplaced the directions
but can still prove

I haven’t lost my way. I remember
something about forgetting limits.
Let my lucky 8
get knocked down tonight.

Linger Lost and Found

This is the first time
I get to see an engine
leave Fire Station #1. A one
alarmer. No more drags

and still I can’t extinguish
those flames swooning
in my head. No smoke
billows out—all in my head.

Out of nowhere the scent
from that bonfire I started
almost twenty years gets retrapped
in nostril cross hairs—stories to be retold.

Say the Word—Hotel

Hungover without
a drink, journals
are meant to be written— 

not read. Why does she
keep them? Why toss them
out? She could donate them 

to a sculptor
who might rehab their pages
into fiber and matter 

for a piece
of public art. Would the characters
she described, reconstituted, dreamed 

up
back then want
their say in the replacement 

of their sketchy heads,
insubstantial torsos, free
floating feet, even sketchier 

souls. Would they? Would 

the new artist listen,
understand, care?
Doubtful. He would be 

listening to his own
noise—not theirs, not hers.
She always relinquishes 

her power, struggles
with steps to the greater 

powerlessness.
It’s been years since she visited
the bonfire behind the old hotel, 

since she was willing
to sacrifice a hero, or two,
for the sake 

of someone’s sanity. Plain
garden variety walks on
solid ground. She’d be lying 

if she denied
there were any new ones
to release into the communal 

burn. Then again,
they are never
really hers to offer. 

And she’s no hero, so no 

self-sacrifice will
do. She keeps walking 

down this steep hill
humming a tune
she thinks she made up. 

You and I know she didn’t.