300 Days

A super moon rises a day after
trees came down and a quarter of the city

was left powerless. Before
you were gone

from not just your body
but your mind, you would have counted

on that extra full
lunar event to anchor us

a little more securely
to life. Before and after.

May 20, 2013

After 28 years, this day still knocks
the wind out of me.

More than a quarter
century. Just shy

of three decades. I look for you
in each fresh start.

Would you still accept
me after all the near misses and messes

I’ve gotten into? The slowly revolving
mop ups? Would you still
believe in being

a work in progress? Would you
give me another chance? I can hear

your voice as clearly as when
you were alive: Yes.

Eight Months

While dreaming,
our number
transforms into
a symbol
that gives
permission to go
on forever. One
sprawling figure


through the seasons. But
it turns out
8 is not ∞
You have stopped
counting as I build momentum.
Grief can’t be quantified.
I must resort
to art as I carry you

with me on and off
the trace.

Seven Months

No ode—pastoral
or urban
myth—will do. No
flag raising
in any pattern or
color. No parades—though
he loved them.

It’s an odd.
A prime.
The current count:

7 days to make a week.
7 notes on a musical scale.
7 attributes of physicality.
7 words to Step 7 begins humbly.
7 home states plus one.
7 children and grandchildren.
7 months to make a preemie.

Some say seven is
this world.
What comes next? I might ask him.

To listen for an answer
in night-falling murmurs
of an otherworldly pulse becomes
the point—not the answer itself.

Color Mnemonics

Fear is the only four letter word
I need to say
to be free. Another season begins

to break
without him. A patch of sidewalk
ice melts

into a small lake, freezes again
overnight. Spring
can’t get any traction. Somewhere

an empty suitcase, an empty raincoat,
an empty tomb. Don’t forget (a parent
or sister might say)
to snap

a mental picture
of those ocean waves breaking
open another calm
after a late winter storm.


I can almost taste
the snow—nothing
good ever comes

from that. A late March double
espresso might neutralize
the palate. Might

not. A family
reunion in August resuscitated
to honor my father. I

never went when he was
alive. How can I
go now? August is

the month of grand
gestures, spiritual releases.
August is

the month he left
us. Yes, I told him
he could let go, but

how could I know
what it would be like
to live in a world without

his heart beating
in it? August is the month
when water

falling majesty just
might return.

200 Days (or Spirit Varnish)

All the world’s
an ice rink
this morning before

the sun (no one can see
through freezing rain
and fear) fully rises. Where

did it go
when these bones began
to break and drop

to the lacquered
ground? Whose bones
will replace those
missing from this new silence?

24/7 Hiss

All the mail
carriers lounging in the corner
café reek

of smoke. Meanwhile there’s not one piece
of even junk
mail in my box. The transference

of my father’s
photo from a filled blank book to a fresh
empty one

is complete. I know the wind
chill is brutal, but
what happened to that unofficial motto?

Neither snow nor rain
nor heat nor gloom
of night stays these couriers
from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.

Yet now
I can hear the radiators whisper incessantly—beware
what you wish for.

Note: The unofficial motto is an inscription on the New York General Post Office located on 8th Avenue and 33rd Street.


Everything echoes
interruption from 5 ½ months
ago. Another trip
to an art museum

suspended. Piles
of new poems stacked
against a stucco
wall unblogged. All walks

come with a hollowed-out
hive halfway
through. If it’s a before

after scenario, this is
the in-progress video
that won’t end.

New Day One

The back alley becomes
a graveyard
for worn couches.

Nine degrees
doesn’t feel too bad
if I stay away

from bridges and river
banks. Icicles formed
unnaturally still remain

on bare tree branches
in the yard
where firefighters fought

and lost
a year-end battle. A raging one,
it took down

a 100-year-old multiplex
home with pillars.
How can I leave you behind

in a year so scorched?
Give me a sign

that your spirit has made it
through wind chill to now.