Some Sunken Urban Parks

don’t deserve to be
preserved. Sometimes
a smile is too

precious, a phrase too
slippery, a mirror
too polished, room

too clean, dog
too calm, child too
still, a bird
too blue. I might be

the street that got too
wide. But no tree
could ever be
too tall.

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2711 Aldrich Avenue South

Still bare from a long winter, my favorite
tree has grown
crazier than I remember. One wildly long branch

reaches across the street
to shake hands with its fellow elder
on the block. Just one

south of the CC Club. I never enter
that darkness anymore. Someone leaves
a black teapot on top

of a recycle bin—yes or no? Do it.
Knock it in. Everything
deserves a second chance.

Anything Can Be Sculpture

And under glass: Clifford,
the Blind Fairy, Green
Eggs and Ham, Corduroy,
Celia and the Sweet,
Sweet Water, Elsie
Times Eight, and so on

across the plane
of a table top. Hard
cover nonfiction
for legs. I see no reference
books recycled into rocking
chair runners. No poetry

collection lamp stands. But
with eyes closed
anything can be.

Another Ash Wednesday

In a transformer
world, carpet
tiles are never new
even when they are—

melted thumb
tacks or dog
collars in a former
life. If I could memorize

a color, I wouldn’t need
a sample room
tucked inside
a satchel. If I could match

that patent
leather red with a ceiling
that used to be

a row
of chairs, I wouldn’t want
to reminisce
about those lacquer days.

No More Bloomingdale’s Minnesota

In closing, some stand back
in their standard poses,
others have taken
the fall into a pile

of limbs and tiny torsos. All
white-washed and naked
and smoothed over and buckled
under the expanse

of gray carpet
in an empty showroom
where the sales fell

short. Where they go
next is a recycler’s dream
I hope to have tonight.

Speaker Less Easy

These legs ache
from the act of hauling
the memory

of his voice and brilliant
wisecracks out my door, down
the back stairs, to the alley

dumpster. Done. I lean
these old wooden idols against the iron
base on wheels. I believe

in the potential to recycle
everything—the divers will come
out tonight. I wear this stiffness

as a badge of endurance. You
threw out mine almost as soon

as you heard it
in an age before reuse.

Fact Finding

A clogged bathroom sink
drain propels her
into a Monday morning
thunderstorm. Most organs can’t be

recycled. Is command
really an alternative
to control? A name attached
to a body is still

just a name. Who she is
when the afternoon sun evaporates
pavement puddles
is another truth.

On the Remake

“Then nothing will remain of the iron age
And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem
Stuck in the world’s thought, splinters of glass
In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain . . .”
—Robinson Jeffers, from “Summer Holiday” 

I can find the trash
chute without falling
under its spell.  Won’t be abducted 

by shattered glass thoughts
desperate to become sand
again. I will recycle myself.  Will 

find another man
to feed me—am seeking
fresh vegetables, grilled fish, and laughter 

sweet as peaches
we’ll dare to eat.