Six Months

Another one
passes. Halfway around
without him. The heat

of late summer
was closing in
that morning. Now late winter

hints at thaw
before another day
closes just a little bit

later than the one
before. Still not used to it.

Startled and chilled
by moments of awareness
of nonexistence. Or,

is that it? He exists
in the route I take
each morning to work,

in the choices
I make when I am truly
awake, in the words

I retrieve—sometimes with excruciating
slowness. In the messages
I hear in that February

wind. He’s there
in the backdrop
to an overripe

moon. There propelling
me to imagine the next
full one. Then again—

an infinitesimal speck,
how can I know? And that’s it—

the spiritual collision
he would have me lean into.


To blame a rodent
for this disruption, this return
to the primitive,

is what I do
when singed mystery
holds no appeal. What about a snake

or hawk? Could be human
error—and into its portal

the soul just might come into view.
If only I didn’t blink it away.

Robert De Niro

You came to me
in a dream I’m trying to rehabilitate.
I didn’t know I needed a raging bull.
Can’t confirm that I do. A Peugeot

pepper grinder won’t jam
my soul the way you might. It’s not the violence
in the ring but
some kind of beautiful

destruction within—all
in the name of poetry.


. . . do I count them
before or after
this verbal thievery? If I live

in the past, may as well revel
in this day come nightfall.
Twenty years is a long time to be

entranced by a voice. The voice. It stops
my soul from deflating
under self-reflexive pressure. The voice

that fills a dark room as if
it’s been doing it
since long before I was born. This is

the voice that invites me
to stop leaving out
the moment we’re in now. Who knew.

Day 3,000

Three thousand days, three thousand nights, hands off
bottles, a mouth that forms
new words like foreign objects
on the tongue. This counting is not done

on fingers or in the head. It springs forth
mid-tally from a soul
she can count on most days.

Paul & Arthur

Their discussion continually boomeranged
back to the dialectic between body and soul—one can wait,
the other won’t last. And still as time passed,
it was that physical form he would choose. And still
I wonder about separation

anxiety, about the risk
in pulling things apart.

Before the SUV Almost Ran Me Over

For Sheri

A child takes
a piano
lesson upstairs, strong
brew purchased below,
the teacher sings. I wish

she wouldn’t. Then it stops. Newspaper
pages rustle—an old
fashioned sound. All the text
messages I don’t hear
take me from this pivot

point. An elbow
aches, and still I will sling
a bag over the same
shoulder to risk
intersections to get to you.

But can I meet the streets
of Cincinnati
where traffic accidents
hit too close
to home? I only hope to recognize her

soul gently touching my arm
when I look both ways.

He Said He Didn’t Believe

in a god, but the soul, yes. I don’t want
to write about urns
or the contents of any vessel I can’t
submerge in a tank

of amnesia. Whom
I envy is a matter
up for a discussion
I’m not prepared to have. What seemed

too soon becomes too late—the interruption
of beliefs is complete.

Minnehaha Falls

Abandoned and crowded, you
are my calm in a steady roar
on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Hidden but no secret, you
remind me to cease
my underestimation

of the middle. Oceans
are my soul edges—today
here lies my heart. Just for today.

The Ones Who Came from New York

Roadkill in black
eyeliner walks
through rain-soaked streets.
Some drift ghosted back 

into shaken
frames, the brittle
bone long since crushed
and brushed off. Others resurrect 

their posture in long black
boots to strut tall
toward their new hero
worship—could be shadow 

dancing, could be a spiritual
awakening to a higher
burn of wheels over the real man
hole concealing their souls.