Whatever It Takes

If I had a drawer
filled with aging apples
to sniff, I might not need
to repeat the word

into the stagnant air.
Might comprehend narrative
in its raw state.

Seeking Muse for Hire

Her current favorite
has gone abroad
for the remainder
of the year. Another one
just quit—returned
to the grave without so much
as a simple parting
image. A once reliable one
keeps hiding
downriver. The weather is
unremarkable. No plans
to travel around cliffs
or on crowded trains.
Even a blinking red
traffic safety light
on that man’s messenger
bag in an indoor plaza
leaves her

without illumination. To be chronic
has its challenges—she might borrow
one just to get through this night.

Fatten Her Own Muse

Once was a smoker
who no more. Planes take off
over her head, so she won’t
sleep, so she’ll be repulsed
by the smell of her former
self seeping through the door
clearance. In the retelling,
this story grows wings, extra
limbs, Medusa locks (larger than
life only through a water
glass magnifier), drawn-out pauses
over the city map she secretly reads
in the palm of her left
hand. Second or third wife, some of us
lose track in the translation
that gets written down
by mistake. This is no Torah
rich in color and lineage.
That story is not hers.

Muse in Relief

I carve you alive
with my own
chiseled lips. I make you
because I was made
by another

nervous dreamer.
Your brows are
what rise when I’m done
with your face.
You smile—

with your flat
stone eyes
and male mouth,
but it’s those brows
you give me

to unwrap myself with
when my own
next sitting draws near.