Strays

Not exactly a rip
current but enough of a drag
to rearrange her.

Where are we?
Where’s our stuff?

See my car beyond
the collapsing seawall?

Identifying cars has never been her
strength. A weakened
swollen left foot

finds relief
in the cool salt

water. Nothing hurts
in this moment. Gang

shootings happen weekly
back home. Heads down, eyes
locked in, a knot

in the throat that can’t be loosened
by the contents

of any of those 10,000 +
lakes. By blood soaking into a little sister’s

sleeve. And swimming here
in a dress, she wishes
she could be more lost.

Prosaic Dream

You are not in
her dream—merely fragments left
behind to prove

you were here. A small sketchbook,
a pair of socks, one
thick glove, a trace

of your carefully constructed
thought. She handles
the sketchbook but

finds an old-fashioned band
flyer with a letter scrawled
on the back

more appealing. Scans
the words—sees her name
near the bottom of the page. Slanted

forward. You know what
they say about that. And then

she wakes up. No idea
what the letter said
about her or who

it was addressed to. It’s 20 below,
and the cat’s licking bedroom
window blinds again.

Day 212 (When I Am Home)

I am New England dirt,
the taste of beets out back.
I am not brownstone—
not urban by birth. I am

still in quarry depth,
the scent of cars rusting beneath.
I am not ocher—not red
iron ore impure. I am sipping

fresh water from a claw-foot tub
turned spring, overflowing
to Bone Lake at dusk
and warm. But I am not

the moon to be collected.
I am not forty jokes memorized—
not working a room,
timing accent and plot. I am

ready to mark this laughter
the colors of a flower bed
against brick. I am the line
drawn purple—blues and reds

of a road map
preparing to fold everything
I am
(except magnetic north) in place.