An Hour’s Peace

Photo from @banannasui.

Waffle-fry footprints on snow,

indelible breasts bounce in red turtlenecks,

dog collars tinkle to the wayside,
fur hatfuls of flasks.

Sun sleeps warm in cloud blankets,

armpits rub in frictionful nudity,

yellowbellied children race with

ambulances nearby,

and you yawn in the pitch of the gas

heat. Small wonders glisten in eyes

furrowed in the black keys of February.

I will go down for you, freeze

fingers for you. Thighs dislocate

thighs and fingerprints trace fogged

glass for you. Seven thousand flakes

keep you from cars and cancers. Every

tendon in your hand is my God.


Poem: On Your Porch I Cannot Hear What You Say in Your Sleep


Photosensitive streetlights flicker,

unsure whether sun is really

here again. Men moan worthless

Iloveyous at this hour. Birds rejoice

that the world is here again at this

hour. Hips swivel on steel chairs.
Receipts stroll down sidewalks.

The patter of the planet’s mantle.

Pumpkins rot in quiet. And ink slips

out of my mouth onto your

parchment chest, the patter of

the planet’s mantle.


Poem: Death Brings Scientific Things; Or, Newton’s Cradle


I can live without it like a flower

lives without pollen—no bees

around anymore, plunging sharp! into my

canvas into my yellow pounding

whys into my skull

I can live without it, I can

live without it like legless

limbless lechers live without arms

thumbs, torso leaning lunging across

ballrooms, bouncing, bare

I can live without it,

will not fill me, except in that sense
Shaggy hair on dark breast calling

out while a single woodpecker taps

Newton’s cradle into motion

which turns to ash without it


Poem: I Know What You’re Thinking


—she wants to kiss me. Her

eyes are draped curtains

and her mouth’s half drawn and

her lips are wet—she leans

across the coffee table, hands

on paper, eyes on me, breasts

on table, spilled, asks, Why?

Why? Why Not? about my dreams,

calls in the midmorning about

her dreams, asks what I think

that means—perhaps she values my thoughts

on the matter—perhaps she thinks I have

the tiniest percentage of an idea

what she dreams—perhaps I know

what it is to go blind and running

every night as frogs crawl

out of my ears and boys

run, hide, run.


Poem: Insect Artist; Or, Don’t Hold Me Down!


Maybe one day I’ll hold you like

a rare African tusk,

but the next I’ll glow over

to the canvas and make green love to it.

You mean nothing to me

without a definition. The day

after that, I’ll leave the farmer’s

market with blood in my mouth

and dead hydrangeas in my hair—

I won’t be thinking about you

lonely at my desk holding your

face in your hands with

no pearl oval gold-ringed

fingernails for that feminine comfort.

I won’t think about you—

you with no OED entry, sitting

like a copper pot saying the word

meld meld meld over and over

in your glassy blue way.

I’ll carry green jugs home

from Grandma’s, from the basement,

from Nigeria—

You’ve traveled so far to reach me!—

I’m in the sky with yellow airplanes.

Yellow canvas airplanes. Screaming

yes yes yes through the no-glass,

my hat not holding me down.