Common Roots Day Dream

A sip of iced garden
mint chamomile tea
and she wants

to believe in more
than the dead
kit below her building

stoop, the fluid
filling her father’s lungs,
the beautiful five

o’clock shadow
framing your face. Mid-syllable,

she comes to. A trance-induced
dialogue snaps
shut. She blinks. Assesses

her surroundings
with fingertips cooled
by glass perspiration. Who

have I been talking to? She asks.
Who will answer? A murmur
behind a smile and she disappears

through the wall
becomes a door.

Johnny Nolan Died: A Found Poem

Three days later. Can’t sing anymore.
An uncle’s ashes scattered
from the Statue of Liberty. Nightmares
in daylight, cross out drunk—

write down sick. Expected rescue
does not come. Nothing
is wasted in this world—is a lie. A lump
of cold damp earth

in her hand. To the edge, she closes
her eyes, opens her hand. Thin
tinkle of a mandolin makes
a sad sound. Not from the common
cup—not Johnny.

Note: Contains phrases found or inspired by Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.