No Longer Just a Discourse Marker

So the rain
listen to me
so light steady
switches to heavy
with thunder
I’ll listen to you
so it becomes logical
to become
waterlogged without
swimming a lap. So easy
to forget to pay
attention to whomever
we could be.

I’ve Sent the Adverbs into Exile

Packed into a cardboard box
with ly’s dangling
from gaps between
the flaps. I’m done with action

that can’t justify
itself. If an escalator squeaks,
let it squeak. If a cat scratches,
let it. If the box

gets returned to sender
because exile has no zipcode,
let it sit on the stoop
till I’m ready

to unpack it—slowly
cutting off those letters first.

Mendacity

She could sweat it
out, but it wouldn’t change
the colors, wouldn’t bring
any of them

back. Laughter
doesn’t come easily
for her. She sees
the humor

and the irony
in it all—giggles
on the inside. Does she dare
to read

the Sunday
New York Times
someone left
behind on the table

next to her. Does she dare,
does she dare, does she
dare. One more time

and it could become
a real question
with correct punctuation.

Lost in Circulation

Pronunciation stiff
from disuse. Fear cracked
and chipped from the antonym. My tone
reveals a humidity
no rain could cure. Too close
for comfort she’ll say. I won’t say a word

as I inhale her breath
from an open window.
Air-conditioning would seal
the hermit in me for good
(and for bad).

Who Is This Pedestrian

Because she hates to see questions
in writing, I invert
my queries into rhetorical

curves. Because she was told
never to use because, I defy
some Ohio law. Because

he refuses to believe
in prepositions piling up
on over themselves, I watch

language wreck itself
from the passenger window.
And I refuse to be so definite

as to be the driver. I act on a passive
tendency to walk on—don’t I?

Missing. Period.

If I were
a typo, I wouldn’t want
to be
discovered. I would hide 

in the middle
paragraph
in the middle
of an incomplete 

thought  You might create
me, but you’ll never know
me or the impact
I might have 

on what they think
of you, never mind me.