where’s the money shot

sunny with a real feel of 5
degrees Fahrenheit

another cruel moment in April
gets trapped under ice

no algae
nothing’s blooming

good or bad
here where the climate trickster

of our own making
never sleeps

Frankenstein’s monster drinks
from the fetid future

has not yet learned
how to lie

he won’t open his eyes underwater
he won’t tell us what he hears

in all that muffled blue
his silence is damaged

if he would declare his damage
it would spill then bleed

into the fibers
of a wrongly-folded map

someone has abandoned
on the frozen ground

remember those

pockets of jamais vu
dot the landscape

with crimson-tinted notes
in the minor key

no one asks to be
the hero image

that spans an iridescent bridge
to nowhere

If She Reads Too Much

Into this
collision of events—

an anniversary and
an announcement.
An epitaph nodding

at a long dead
affair gets plastered
with a bill blasting

a live
threat. A reunion

of the soundtrack
that did her in. She could peel
it off—the stone would still

be cool. But these words
are not.

Track 8

“The Mississippi River, magnetic engines roar,
sad songs keep the devil away.”
—Jay Farrar (Son Volt, “Angel of the Blues”)

These songs
are homecomings.
One—“Angel of the Blues”—
returns me to the roots of true
saudade.

Sun’s First Suspension

The morning’s unexcused
absence can lead to another,
then another, and
still another till

truncated days are
all we get. Our children’s

children will dream of civil
dawn the way we long
for a pristine shoreline, pine
forest, subway wall, guitar

riff. Saudade
for time of day

as much as for a place
or soul we never knew
renders us
human all over again.

Pillory

“Lap and drag. Crag and gleam.
That continual work of wave
And tide, like a wet wind, blowing
The earth down to nothing.”
—Tracy K. Smith, from “Minister of Saudade” (in Duende)

When laws of motion become lairs,
it’s time to reconsider the quarry

and what it might hold. She stopped
buying bathing suits when she learned

the truth about limits. Love
lies at the bottom

of the bottomless. There she’ll be—
denying her need

for oxygen. Not a little death.
Not a death at all.

Pretty Good Friday

AKA is not FKA is
not who she thinks
you are. How to feel saudade

about the name
of a place, not the place
itself. She wonders if

we are what we eat
on the way to choosing the one
that will stick.

Saudade Scraps

The crumbs
she brushes off

the table will become
the place

she dreams
of reaching by train

before civil dawn. And
the rhythm

she feels
will overpower anything

any one
of us might hear.