My dog contracted diabetes and left me
stuck with the bill. A lover boy
he never met a person he didn’t like
or a food he didn’t taste.
A lucky dog, he can’t attain enlightenment,
but no heaven without hell.
In the next life he’ll come back
as a person who can’t afford their insulin.
Of those, I’ve met many. One buried
the little of it she rationed
in the damp fertile ground
so that it would keep.
Another was comatose,
a soldier in an army that didn’t care.
What is an army that cares?
The child sprints up a flight
of steps. Her calico frock,
worn to a stiffness,
catches the wind, making
her hands like blurred wings.
Like a single finger, the tip
of the wing, is the line
I follow to map her living.
Against the ancient
stones of her city of a million
civilizations, this still flight
is a type of promise,
the animation upon which
in the land of the dying.
‘What was not, although it might have been …’
What was not, although it might have been
worse than it was, was still a train-wreck. Why
did I stop going to the bakery,
buying pears, kale, chicken, cheese — eating, when
September ripened, spread its ample plen-
itudes? Platitudes! With despair in my
face, up close, every diminishing day,
I locked the door that ought to stay open
to people, possibilities. Those nights
and days a blur. I slept. I bathed. I dressed
and sat there, mind blank, everyone I missed
missing. I was dragged out, and forced
alive, under the vilifying lights,
where once again, I wished it were the past.
I walked on ceilings when nobody was watching.
If I opened my stance, lowered my head, and pushed down my hands,
the ceiling became the floor. Nobody believed me.
They had not seen me do it. Nor had they paid attention
to my developing skills. The hallway was the best place to practice
my upside-down world. To concentrate on walking,
I closed the brown shuttered doors to all the bedrooms.
Sometimes my hair would fly up, and I would have to tie it back.
When my head grew dizzy, I floated down on my back
and lay flat on the floor right below the light.
Who would believe in me if I did not believe in myself?
I knew the power I had could be tamed by the family.
To this day, nobody knows where I am when I am not home.
From the Insect World, a Fall 2019 Message
this Spider has arrived
to hunt behind my home.
this Spider has lowered
its rope behind
For four days heat from the temporal artery
Arched spine across your lap
Milk linens wails warmed in the midnight hour
Your body only a surface for this small body to press on
Days and days and smaller days outside of stanzas
Thinking done at the edges loose script
Long ago you drew passages on foot
along the rim of Prospect Park dandruff where pear trees itched
What meaning roused from a line
nights you rested temple against train glass panes?
Rushing to meditation cushions in Chelsea evenings washed clean
back when death hadn’t yet caught a look
You wore wool and silk dresses
Thought your real life was only one softly out of earshot
Hurtled tunnel through tunnel trying to sound out
the years stationed ahead the soft then harder stresses
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