Reading done with mirrors
is a backwards art
I fear

learning. When self-reflection
becomes an obsession, it’s time
to stop

paying the electric bill. Time
to flip
all letters hanging in suspension.

Eve of Dropping

How much time
she can cram
onto a single sheet
of paper (without foldouts)
will not exceed
the days it takes
for her to erase
another ill-suited lover
from her imaginary dance
card. And the wiliest
of the ill has a sister
whose voice will soothe
during those marginal nights.

Eleven Cubed

Whoever erased
all thoughts of him
from my head while I

slept last night
will become the new
mystery I expand

into an obsession
before snow falls
on another civil

twilight. Could be spitting
out toothpicks
for all I care.

Glass Plan

To run a marathon, write
a book, publish
a poem, make
love to a woman, join
a commune, find
a home, see the world,

to call it a day
is to spin my own

epitaph on a 3 x 5
note card, index
my breath, become obsessed
with chasing my own
past, is to take
a long ride on a train.

The Dead Can’t Hurt

No longer in the run around, she traipses
across an invisible line
between mentor

and visitor, room
and mask, smile
and lie, tears
and truth, lover

and ghost. A new
preoccupation might not be so kind.

The Flats

If only you had come down
that warm June night.
To rescue her

from his leaping kiss, from
herself—you might have deflected
the obsession

from his visage
to yours. Might have cherished
her beautiful catastrophe

longer than
a summer’s breath. River
to lake—lake to river

bed, you might have left her
another widowed
word in the end.

Air Mail Through an Open Window

If I die tonight, will we
become lovers by tomorrow
evening? Civil twilight to entwine
two severed spirits. Counting
finally done. To drink or not, new
wine or old—it won’t matter. That age gap
sewn up once and for all. If
I make it till morning, I will continue
to keep a record
of what might have been.

Dead Man’s Hand

Then he drew a cloud
to hold all the love

letters I wrote
to all those objects

of my obsession. Before
digital mapping the whereabouts

of my heart, there was the weather
and pleas for stamps.

Before He Died He Called Me a Star

fucker. The man who snores
in a library coffee bar,
or the man I can only hear
through home stereo speakers—only see
on screens—all strangers
who grapple with their own
mortality. I have mine. Not certain
where the intersection lies. Six degrees
or less—I never had the patience
to measure that distance. Why talk
to your brother’s roommate, when I could be
kissing you full on tonight?

1991: A Poem

Dream. Premonition. Mortality
begins now. I give him an anecdote
in a letter—he’ll never receive
my gift. If equilibrium exists, where’s my

ecstasy? My sister and I watch boats go
up and down the terrifyingly calm

Cuyahoga. Aboard the floating
Heartbreak Hotel, it’s all so close—
the banks of the river, a rail bridge ahead, the crushing
of fantasies. But it doesn’t happen

that way. The world begins to tip in a slowed motion. Sights
and sounds expand beyond their original limits. I watch

from another planet as he walks up the aisle. A kiss,
a hand in hand. Shall I be so bold
as to ask you? He asks. We kiss
as if the elevator door would never open again. Lovely

feet and hands. Brown eyes that turn cloudy
green or bottomless black at will—not his. When

he makes love, he talks. He loves
those vocal chords. I retreat
to the lobby bathroom to check
if I’m still wearing

my own skin. Is it mine? Still? Indeed.
Gravity is overrated.