All My Favorite Photos of You

for Sheri

Gone. Did the New York Subway #1
train pickpocket keep
them? I shouldn’t have kept them
all in my wallet. I wanted

some—any—scrap left
of you with me
at all times. You had been
gone only a little

over a year. I should have paced
myself. I was too young
and naïve to understand the infinite
nature of your absence. You understood

limits and functions
so much better
than I ever could. And
the symbol

for infinity could be
a pattern we used to scrape out
with our skates
on the Thornton Park Ice Rink.

The Summer after Seventh Grade on Glengary Road

I remember twins
before the mall came tumbling down
(where no library would nest
in its debris). They swam

in a pool
attached to a house
my father bought
before they tore down

the family. It was broken
by the time those boys jumped
off the diving board
into lukewarm June

water. And the poodle
had already eaten the kits
nesting in a rabbit
burrow by the wooden fence.

They Were Identical

She pitches pennies
on the floor in the back
of a New York taxi cab
with twins

she used to know. Thirty-five
years. Nap dreams mean

nothing unless she chooses
to shape them
into visions to augment
the afternoon light.

She’s not going to
google those boys—

learned her lesson.
She doesn’t want to kill
off any more of her past
sooner than it needs to expire.

Van Aken Boulevard Rhetoric

In the basement between
the family and laundry
rooms, a yellow wall
phone hangs—always ready
to be used. And we did
with alarming frequency. Track

lighting reflected in this mug
of coffee twinkles the way
those bulbs screwed into that cellar
ceiling between pipes
never could. Who were we
talking to all those hours? Who’s left

in our lives? I have answers,
and it doesn’t matter. No one expects
them—that’s how it works.

Summer ’81

Engine shut off,
brakes released.

We rolled the teardrop window car
down the driveway
like spies.

Curfew or no curfew,
we discovered our own
way to decode the night.