Another Lyric Skyway

A real concert
harpist plays beneath
a giant atrium
sculpture with strings

attached. I’ve lived
all these years
with a mannequin—
not a marionette. I have

a cousin who mistakes live
women for the ones without
strings. Someone’s father
worked in a plastics factory

where they manufacture
the ones frozen
in poses. I can’t
draw one—but I could place

a cutout replica
in a jar and wait
to be surprised.

No Past

“One must be receptive, receptive to the image at the moment it appears.”
—Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

In moments like these
I do what I do

I see your collage
of sea glass clad the curve
of a clam shell

and raise you a cloth bag
laden with leaves, light
fixtures, planks from bleachers, a pale

pink mannequin
arm, the final words
he whispered before

he left the café at dusk. I see straight

through our trial
to time to be served.

Popo is short
for poor poet
as much as it is
for the police.


That mannequin torso
I see inside the second floor corner
apartment window facing West 15th
is no Apollo. Has nothing

but its center shell
that won’t encase a heart to shape
and display a wool great
coat, button

down cotton shirt, knit shawl, black
choker, silk tie. From an icy street,
I study its lamplight glow after dark
and suddenly remember

I have one too. And
she hasn’t lost her head.