Spring Prayer

There is no word for Spring’s delay –
just torture until it arrives.
Wrapping ourselves in sheer dismay
March winds whistle through us like knives.

Hope does not do justice, either.
Nor bitter desperation.
We grasp each feeble ray of sun
seeking earnest supplication.

Trimesters

I.

ultrasound
hope
borne through waves of nausea

a heartbeat flutters onscreen

“there’s the little troublemaker”

II.

braxton-hicks
the abdomen expands
to accommodate life

agony’s thumb edges
down the center

an unseen hunter
pares the womb

with the blade
of her electric knife

III.

for my daughter
i do not yet know
how to write you

the language,
still nascent

writhes violently,
kicks at my ribs

i trust the words
will be born with you

Palmistry

uncertain,
i study
my left palm

pinching the teal dot
of graphite lodged
beneath my love line

still there,
though the accident
was decades ago

gently,
i squeeze
my fingerbones

with the
opposite hand
uncertain

Nightmares

how to meet the hat man

sleep fitfully on the sofa
your back to to door

plagued by dreams of moths
in a house of illness

sleep until his deep voice wakes you
and you cannot move.

“excuse me, ma’am?”

his tall frame curls into the corner
his neck cranes, hat scrapes the ceiling

no light reflects from his face or hands
featureless as a shadow

he watches though the night
and you cannot move.

“i’ll be right here if you need anything.”


when i was a skeleton

i had not the foresight
to fashion a skin for myself
from discarded trash and tarps

the ache whistled through my ribs

my bones dried in the winter air
withering once whitehot marrow
into frozen despair


cold medicine blues

the dogbody of midnight
sweeps past
my ankles

i wake
on the
shitter

Abecedarian in a Dive Bar

any-
body
can
dance

extroverts
frequently
gather at
honkytonks

introverts
just
know to
lie low,
mouse-like,
nibbling
on scraps of
possibility
questioning the
revelers who
swing
toward
utopia

vexed, the
wallflowers’ very
xylem
yearns to
zoom

Grandpa’s Dream

during the great depression
we climb a rotten maple

we shimmy up a rope
i glide back to the ground

while you sway, unafraid
in an army flight jacket

a single living sliver
supporting your branch

What Is A Weed? (For Aldo)

i’m not too keen on yardwork
but i am strong in my own way,
stubborn
mowing strips in my little lawn
with a silent manual mower
raking
the fallen leaves into large paper
bags that the city picks up on
tuesdays.
sometimes the older male neighbors
will give me advice for a purer lawn
mistaking
the unholy mob of broad-leafed plants
for something to be vanquished – oh no
not here!
how else could the barely blushing fleabane
eavesdrop, their heads resting on windowsills
watching
my hands as i set the table for dinner
laughing at the men who fear
us weeds?

The Art of Bathing (II of II)

venus, stepping forth from her porcelain shell

the cream and maroon tiles
of the mid-century bath
are lit by two candles

a great swelling
of peace fills her heart
hot rivulets of water

pour down her shoulders
soaking waves of wet
hair, cast to one side

one hand cupped
to her breastbone
her belly a rounded prayer