Laugh Phoenix

You are my laughing phoenix,
I am yours.
Our cackling woke the dead.
Endlessly we cracked jokes
waiting for the fire engines (not red)
to arrive.

No, wait! Hurry! Get back
inside. Let the smoke
choke us out of five hundred years’
worth of played-out puns.
Six hundred too many Arabian nights
have us cracked up under the moon.

Reduced to ashes, we could ask to be blood-red,
winged beauties next to one another
shaking feathers forever in the desert.

But you would not reinvent yourself
with me. For me,
the ashes scatter irreverently. For you,
tradition’s fire in the belly burns
as you wait for ladders and hoses.

Dry as the skin of wakened dead,
the puns will reduce me
to tears for five hundred or so
more years. Unless, of course,
you weren’t my last,
laughing one.

June 12: 22 Years Later

It comes around once
a year like any other
with a morning,

noon, afternoon, civil
twilight reminder. The Cuyahoga

River at dusk. A boat docked
in the Flats. An outdoor stage. The opening
act. Guitars. Dance in black

leggings and a royal blue
floral button down baby
doll dress with pockets.

Is it mine? The first
kiss, beer on tap, another kiss,
more beer on tap. Stouffer Inn, magic elevator

carpet. Room service pizza.
Clothes off. Jokes on
all night. Nothing dies

within your reach
again. A child who would be
21 by now is not mine
or yours—is the night’s own.