Lightning Won’t

Strike twice on
the same stage
in the same
heart to doom
the same

life all over

again. She only thinks
she recognizes
that dose
of thunder
as his.

Loading Dock Lost

And the quiet one
slips out and down the back
stairwell. I still take that twist
of steps myself but have forgotten
the smell of the rail
corridor. Anyone can die
at any moment. Anyone can nose
around to detect the real
me now that the smoke
has cleared. I can breathe deeply
and know there was a life—and
this is fragile.

Jolt

Two lipsticks total
euphoric recall
beyond what this purse
can hold. To be high

above the trees
on a balcony
railed with red
metal is the opening

scene, is the last
time she almost fell
into a black

out. Period. Under
any conditions
there will be
red lips.

Shakes

When a building gets braided
before the roof settles, who can
predict how high

the electric fence
will need to be. And she’s come to
under the wire

often enough to care.
Each measure is always longer
than it sounds.

Beneath Her

No chance for nighttime
dreaming—a neighbor’s dance
beat disruptions wreck

any hope
of true REM. Her tolerance

for talking to drunks
has diminished
over a decade in reprieve

till it’s shrunk
to the size of a single shot
of espresso

she’s going to sip
in the morning start-over.

Won’t Go Back to the Cellar

An open safety pin
lies on a sidewalk
sprinkled with snow
as the temperature

plummets. She second
guesses her choice
to leave it there. Questions
the optimism she offered

a stranger last week. A weapon
is a weapon. Drunk
driving is driving
drunk, underage or

over it. If she had
a license, it would have caught
up with her
by now. A sigh

and accelerated pace,
pedestrian reprieves
count just as much.