Garbled

When her grandfather paid her
a nickel for each half
hour she could sit still

and mute

neither could know how
her father’s words would evaporate
into close Jersey shore air

for free, how the other capital A
disease untreated might do the same
to a friend she can’t bear to be near—

and stillness becomes

permanent. Even if
she kept those nickels
all these years, she couldn’t purchase

a reprieve
from either for anyone.

Cedar Point Not Lost (Day 2,160: Take 3)

Sandusky is not merely amusement, not merely
a beer garden, bathhouse, dance
floor where the first lover
would begin to break 

my hope over cold water. Edging Lake Erie,
a peninsula not an island 

after all, Ohio’s tendency for hills. I stay away
to prevent roller coaster motion

sickness—we’re never cured
from the disease
of memory.  What we get
if we’re very lucky, and the light 

is with us, is
a daily reprieve from our inner ear’s relentless imbalance.