Seen Through Fog

There’s a story behind
Staten Island Ferry
orange. I can’t tell
it but can hear its tone
revealed in a soothing voice-

over through early morning fog.
Routine commuting becomes heightened
by the transcendent
moments before
the marathon begins

on the Verrazano
Narrows Bridge. By a skyline
permanently scarred, by a keel
built with steel
from collapsed towers, by film

and TV footage of our favorite
characters crossing one way
or the other. Sometimes someone
who’s had too much
winds up where he started

without getting closer
to home. Color

declares, or hides, or widens
the channel for multiple
interpretations. Always the same
orange, always the same
distance either way.


She peels
an orange in the rain.
The scent remains
on her skin into civil
twilight. Her orange
raincoat fits perfectly
across her shoulders—winter
only seven days away. The color
of any aroma captures
her eye when she stands
still long enough to open
anything blocked.

Burning Fluid

How many walls will she paint orange
before the urge to find replacements
dissolves in spirit

of turpentine? It is a question she doesn’t need
to answer till other colors haunt
her, flash inside her eyelids

in jealous rages, till another violent act
unfolds flat against this bare surface.

Burnt Green

Most—but not all—of the stain
gets removed. A return to wrinkle free
breaths, the smell of snow melt

over concrete, rosewater spilled
on a quilt, the color red buffed
without a hint of orange. It’s not

just about ashes—to strive
for purity even now is worth the energy
it takes to dispute or hang

in willing suspension.
And sometimes we just bounce.