South 13th

Each time I look down
that street it’s another U-Haul
truck that captures my eye

for minimal detail. Dead
of winter, dead center
of the block, this month—

someone gets up and moves
away. Or it’s someone else moving
in. The weave tightens

around messages that near
miss home.

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.

Road Restless

Between trips, she tires
of the asking trees.
Exhausted by the ones without
brilliantly hued questions, the ones
that taunt with a humming
constant in the wind—home is

not the answer
every time, everywhere.

Museum as Verb

She prefers student
over teacher, says
inspiration is

elusive. No one
would settle without
water nearby. It will all shift—

the more she learns
the less she knows

call this—or this—
home. On these days,

she prefers
to board a train
to let go.

The Depot

A young man in a loud
print shirt, baggy shorts, flip

flops, makes
a balance beam
from a track rail. Records

a freight train’s flight
through the station
to replay and give false hope to future

passengers dodging bats
passing under the eaves. Lights
from boats on moonlight

excursions and the Harbor
Bar across the channel
on the island with no name

transform the river
into a stage. Others wait
to travel west:

White Fish, Montana,
Portland, Oregon,
Chico, California,

eventually. For me, the waiting
will be longer than the journey home.

River Salvation

Three turtles on the back
of a fallen wish bone
branch, I’m looking down 


again. The chain
of lakes does not captivate.
Without an ocean, 

my roots 

go thirsting
for a source deep
in the mud. Home 

is wherever water carries
forth that voice.

Female Jonah

A yellow cab double
parked, medium-sized U-Haul
behind it—I know 

these getaways
too late, arrivals
too early. When moving in 

becomes an art,
it’s time
to reconsider the vessel. Above 

or below it, I just want 

to crawl inside
the belly of someone’s home—yours?
Or, it could be mine.