How to write a poem
is one thing you thought you’d never forget
but after a while even the wobble escapes you.
Wheels warp, refuse to align.
Months of days passing the place you stashed it
before you notice it’s gone.
Stolen? At first it seems so, a ragged hole
the size of your fist
in the door just below the lock.
Collapsing onto the bed, he moans
“I don’t feel good.”
Every night he doesn’t feel good.
What would Good feel like? I want to ask.
The absence of pain?
A month of snow days?
Maybe this Good lays a path and clears debris,
one smooth downhill grade.
Or better still, buoyancy
as if weightless
on water cooled by twilight
and the wings of loons
Eyes like a growling. Eyes like a treasure box. Storefront reflection, candid photograph, inverted glint on spectacle glass.
Eyes tethering me to corporeality.
They write their stories on my body. Make their confessions on my body. Cast the runes and decode the signs and plan their fortune on my body. Ink the map of their nightmares on my body. X the spot of their rescue on my body.
Petals from nameless tress, blossoms pink as sisters
edge sidewalk, gutters, stairs
drawing a perfect pillowed frame around everything that separates us.
With a form to cement the end
of a project that’s kept her here eight years,
she stands at the threshold
of my office. Her offering of gratitude
a satchel of lotions and oils, heavy with the perfume of peach flowers.
The girl in me feels the kiss of a sundress on her calves. Remember
grass? Body paint, sun-streaked boys,
pennants stained with soot and crushed blackberries,
gymnastic arcing bonfires,
bare arms in pas de deux with dusk. Continue reading “Office Hours”
Itzhak Perlman was riding shotgun when the October moon slid out onto the horizon. The soloist’s strokes teased from the slimmest strings the opening notes of Beethoven’s violin concerto. Other players followed and a rumble rose from deep in the bouts of cello and bass, swelling to a roar and thundering through my ribs, pressing out the tears. The stoplight was seconds from green so I pressed back. It took some effort. It took my breath.
The moon lay herself down in a hammock of treetops and followed us with her sleepy gaze.
Across town, a young writer of mysteries saw her too. What echoed across the dusk to his ears was Don McLean’s “Vincent,” at least the opening verse. His song reached in through the passenger side window and wound around the Berlin Philharmonic. I pulled into a jammed parking lot. They grabbed their instruments by the neck and careened off together, streaking light across the purple sky.