When you come you are the rustle of leaves
tuning the distance, the rhyme of songbirds
and windwhistles, the arched rhythm
of bowing branches.
The sound of silk sliding
to hardwood—there is harmony to you
like the assonance of spring song
as it serenades the day and disappears.
In that way I wish to make you move,
pass through you. Be as porous,
accept and use me. Dance.
The stretched neck of twilight sees that paths
of evening passion are wayward, that accidents
are afoot. There is riot in night eyes
as sunset loosens vision, released
and rushing outward. Join me
in a bending
the way a falcon slams the sky,
the way this dark propels itself
to stun the earth in heavy rattles. Like them,
I want to jar you, hurl toward you
with that dispatch,
that complete collision.
*first published in Möbius
Inking the Road Again
Tumors of sidewalk snap under my shoes.
I don’t listen or look left at the cancered
house as I pass. But I know it’s there,
slumped in an easy chair of mud, pitifully
dressed in maple crumbs and stains of rain
like my father wore on his ginnie t. His
nightly storm of chips and beer watching tv
in a lazyboy. Swelling in the belly, shrinking
in the groin while his neglected wife stripped
skin from a biker, sucking highways out
of his tattoos. Once, he gave her roses
for no reason but love, cut from bushes
in the yard. I know that prize garden
is a graveyard now. I buried the bodies
and planted the stones, groomed
its misery until mower blades were
the color of evening sky. I pruned vines
with unpracticed hands until dry thorns
couldn’t break babyskin, chopped down
riots of wood until the ax head wobbled
and fell in the dirt with my dreams.
I don’t look back, won’t look. I tend
to myself, hit nothing now but the road.
I’ve found my mother’s double yellow line.
No crossing, no u-turns. Funny how
I never got there until the morning
I had this fine replica of a Route 66 sign
inked into my arm, right above the heart
that says “Mom”.
*first published in Frigg Magazine
Almost a Savior
Most of all I remember the weight, his
thudding footfall at night when he came home
from Bethlehem . His boots brought factory iron
with them. And the bronze bubbles of the smelt,
the ash on his whiskers, added dark gravity
to his face. A circle of white where a hardhat
protected mind and kept skin pure made him look
like his two-tone Chevy rotting in the yard.
Each evening, he reminded me that angels
could be heavy, that shaking floorboards
need not enhance terror. Night is scary enough
he said, without the ghosts of sound. Tremble
at the real, boy. Besides, devils don’t have beards
or halos. And they all drive Fords.
*first published in Epicenter
Whispers from the Pier
Beyond the dunes there is a place
where jetty poles are snapped
and mark a death, graveyard on sand.
Like scriptless stones, they guard
the buried days. Split with salt,
they sag but watch. We were there
once, beneath the choking wood, dying
with the pier in shadows. No one
heard us, naked in the rain, whispering
the wind quiet, crying the clouds dry.
We could have been anyone. We could
have been old gulls. Or tides, eroding
legs and life, returning the dust.
Above our heads, the fleeing feet
tapped out our grief. They ran
to rooms in the storm, left us
to the dark, the swell, the grinding
rides. Left us, to the rotting heart.
One time, there was a peace
below the moon, when sky
and sea held hands. On the flat,
the boards drew breath and saw
the sky wheel spinning.
*first published in Willard & Maple
returning her home disheveled
back on her porch unbuttoned,
tresses tangled. bare
you saw her ripe this morning,
scarlet and smooth.
now color drained,
my lips are red.
she will seem fruit again tomorrow,
rebloomed ruby, sundress hiding
blue hips. lace laundered,
clean of me. perfect
for backyard barbecue,
your hostess serving iced tea,
but fire shy,
already on my grill,
*first published in Slow Trains