Figurehead Off the Prow

She could return to the man
who dances with praying
mantises. Or, to the water—colder

on the second day. Or,
another man

she hasn’t spoken to
in over 20 years. She sees him—does he
see her? She imagines

how she might reinvent
his gaze. How he would look

underwater when the ocean
has calmed. Or, what he’d do
if a fox started following him.

Now she doesn’t even know
which man she means.

It’s all a wild ride
that begins in a dinghy
her uncle named after her.

With Sloping Shelves

Multicolored book
trucks still roll
into view. She muzzles
herself as she drifts

to a one-room
library circa 1970. Rain dazzles
the surface
of the island. The scent

of Mylar, settled-in
type, a lilac
perfume on the librarian
who reads

Blueberries for Sal
to a circle
of restless children. Next stop,

next town, the Flying Horses
to ring themselves off.
Then it fades away.

Is It Mine Again?

Dumptruck sings “Get off
my island.” Used to be
my refrain even though
I’ve always known no one

(especially me) can really own
it. Just missed going to college
with one Dumptrucker. Shared a cab
from the Lower East Side to Prospect Heights
early one Sunday morning with another.

An oral history gets written
down. What gets lost
in translation becomes ghost
poems that only recite

themselves under waxing
crescent moons. But when they do,
you can hear them echo
up freshly rained-on empty streets
with titles like “urban spring” and “long live
the lighthouse keeper.”