Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78
and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.
There is mother
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in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.
I squirrel for your key among the bird routes
and airplane flights in the blue hummed daylight.
I dig for you in lowest drawers of desks
where duties cement my legs and
cubicles encompass what’s left.
If life ever careens through, we could
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rendezvous in dialogue at night’s dock.
As stowaways in bed, we might kiss
and kite our private lightening
into the bugle-blare of dawn.
First light through the curtains
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I find myself simultaneously
four billion years old
and newly made as bread dough.
on my face are spacetime,
my bed aloft on cosmic riptides.
From here I can see every particle
entangled with every other particle.
From here, reality is infinity
expressed in intricate calculations.
in the morning my hands hold an ocean. a ghost
of a note hanging on a clothesline the air plays
each night. i put it there but i don’t remember. i feel fine at dawn &
a needle weaves its yarn around slick fingers like a travelling sun.
my hands are faster than my feet so they dig a well. i think
Read more "how clandestine can a day be?"
in another life i’d have been a slug. pulling against myself always
leaving discard gossamer.
my father and i do not look alike
at first glance, but
we have the same scar on our chins
from falling off our bikes and
leaving a bit of ourselves behind,
red bifurcating again and again in the cement,
so strange to imagine how our skin
closed hastily, unevenly
(easing pain is not the same
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as making smooth again).
Each quarter-turn carries an invitation.
Spring’s on-again, off-again wind calls for séance,
candlesticks and musky incense, perhaps sage.
My mug of coffee cools fast. I do not fight
in-between-ness, transience set in scarcity.
No angels, fireworks, zombies or astronomers’
star stampedes. The clay pots hold slime browns
of marigolds and geraniums that bloomed
last August. The glass table for al fresco July
dining is spread in algae scum. Alder catkins
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clog the birdbath. A one-inch Japanese maple
sprouts from the pot that once waved gold feather grass.
the hardest thing
about this memory is
how it keeps coming back
to me, still
holding warmth like peach tea
left out in midday sun like
the midday sun that came
across the canal white rose petals
across the ruffled surface
released by hesitant hands and
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The anniversary of his death is the cruelest fishhook. Yanking us back, violently. When the days turn crisp, as they have now, when summer fades and autumn crawls into our tiny farming town—that’s when we most grieve our fallen classmate. One year we tried to ignore the date, but the hook came anyway and somehow was even more brutal. So now we meet it head on: we make a day of it. The downtown is strewn with somber-black ribbon. Coffee is shared and then, later, whiskey. We pass the yearbook, we muse, we moan. If a stranger such as you wanders by, the story is told in fullest detail.
Read more "Our Danny Petoskey"
The orange ranunculus
dropped its petals
like a soft feather war—
a dead fire bird,
a phoenix on the ground,
smooth still like the milk
puddles, lining the sink.
They boiled a thing
and it remained,
like depression, like ants
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coming in from the rain.
that was so big it could hold a thousand hearts racing
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at the sight of a face they thought would never show up again
beating down the road like a breathless storm or worse,
finding only the wind’s racket forced into a fist
perfectly rapturous and strange how we’re all picked up
and dropped off at some other threshold. fate and chance
met up this way, plucked and flung in the same gust
like a thousand seeds mingling into entirety.