The Beard On My Face

She used to touch the beard on my face,
Whether nascent or full,
And stroke it with two fingers.
She would indulge in the bristles
As they bit tenderly into her chin
When we kissed and kissed
The way we used to
Kiss and kiss.
She loved when it was mostly brown and a little blonde and ginger
And loved it more when the white began to overtake the brown and blonde
And touch of ginger.
If I shaved because it’s not our world but theirs
And I must get along sometimes
She would be sad but understanding of that.

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the still water that runs deep

somewhere on the coastline of my memory, two girls and a slick canoe
glide across a blue puddle, their opposite oars dipping in tandem.

one girl stands and stumbles like a wave overcome,
while the other sits and stares at their watery window.

beneath the girls, liquid glass and undersea sidewalk.
beyond them, a fish’s bones settled at the brink

of a sandbar’s black out. the girls are only canoeing because
the wave-like one is scared of fish, and feels their lips against her feet

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Rocket Man

I said my goodbyes, turned back to the shore, stopped trying to find you. It took me awhile, took me a few more pink striped skies, a few more mountains, a few more years. But I found my way, wrested my skin from yours, saved myself from going under. I talk to you still, the way we always talked, close and deep without platitudes or pretense. You know I have forgiven you for all the ways you almost took me with you. You didn’t mean to, never meant for me to get swept into your undertow. You tried to stop it but I was desperate for a reason to fade away.

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i forget i fell asleep with you and can’t think of anything sweeter

you fall asleep with coffee breath, & the rain starts, hitting the sidewalk
as the dog whistles. the dog is whistling next to you & everything is
silent still. i imagine the noise of nothing sliding through the house. at
our world’s end, olive bread. so we ripped it off the loaf. our last meal
in the big house that no longer feels like ours. scattered we are,
segmented. yeasty fingers finding mouths & tasting only closeness.

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The Search

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
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.

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Venice

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

floating back

across the canal white rose petals

skitter-scattered

across the ruffled surface
released by hesitant hands and

coming home

shivering.

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Smooth Still

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 homesickness

like depression, like ants
coming in from the rain.

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Left of Gandhi

Sittin’ to the left of Gandhi
Peaceful intentions and all

Honolulu Zoo behind me
Girls playing volleyball
Beautiful ocean

Yet, the world burns in more ways than one

My wife in the water, with beautiful fish

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