En Route

She writes about cities—Cincinnati, Red
Wing, Newport, Kent, Fort
Worth—before she sees them
to prepare her soul

for any embedded poetry
that might work itself loose
beneath her feet. Each place is a place
called home

for someone. No one
can knock her off
her footing without her consent.
She just can’t wait

for planes to land, trains
to pull into stations.

Ohio Cruising Altitude

Is this the right number
of times to have lost
myself to this sound—yours? To fly

solo over traffic
air currents low enough
to see each housing

development curl
into its cul de sac
mortal coil, to trace

each bend in the rivers between
Cincinnati and Cleveland—Little
Miami, Mohican, Cuyahoga,

Chagrin. To be high

enough to know it is possible
to survive this state
without losing my sense

of direction for the gathering
of waters. The tally stretches across
the greatest mud. Take me home.

Before the SUV Almost Ran Me Over

For Sheri

A child takes
a piano
lesson upstairs, strong
brew purchased below,
the teacher sings. I wish

she wouldn’t. Then it stops. Newspaper
pages rustle—an old
fashioned sound. All the text
messages I don’t hear
take me from this pivot

point. An elbow
aches, and still I will sling
a bag over the same
shoulder to risk
intersections to get to you.

But can I meet the streets
of Cincinnati
where traffic accidents
hit too close
to home? I only hope to recognize her

soul gently touching my arm
when I look both ways.