The public safety
building skyway has nothing
in its display case. No hint
of what got abandoned, what could become
enclosed in glass. She could

start over. Wind her way
through 7+ miles
of second floor passageways.
Could comment on the return
of Minnesota winter. But

another tabula rasa
might serve best to shake

her free of this burden of shoulder
shrugging routine.

Day 1,384

As she gathers lilies for a wicker basket
hitched to a bicycle she used

to associate with him, pebbles fall
at her feet. Comfort comes in dreams

of a familiar burden.
These small memory pieces become worry

stones she rubs to release herself
from a desire to live beneath

that boulder again. Grace comes
awkwardly to the shore.

Mississippi Burden

Release me
from these lucid dreams. The more
I try to control the mind
toward a reencounter with you in a garden
level coffee bar, the less 

I know about sleeping
flowers on this bluff
overlooking the confluence
of two rivers. What gets tended
in the dark could grow 

into more than what I believe, a grace
over dogma rising
from sandy soil. I am carrying fear 

in a basket my ancestral women transported
with time on their heads, by turns, to reach the big 

river, to spill
the contents into turbulent waters, 

to no longer believe in
the terror of the flood, the promise
of drought. So far, I am not 

balancing it
on my head, but on my left hip
below the heart. I’m still hoping
you’ll catch my right
to pull me into your current, to take everything 

from me, so I have nothing left
to drop.

Caryatid’s Offering

Suffering gratitude is a burden
she will carry from the well
to the fire in a vessel
upon her shoulders—
understanding spilling
like new wine speaking

in tongues to the warmed earth.
She endures the gift exchange
of her clan, a ruby-colored cloth
passed between women till one declares
it will be torn
into a deck of cards 

made of erotic fiber.
Small swatches for young men
to pick from, each choosing
randomly until one last piece
is left for the one who has waited
to learn love 

with the woman who witnesses
an exquisite act of destruction
in every gift there is.