Couples therapy

You are infuriating, he said
(I try, I said)
You drive me wild
(I am wild)
You forget to call
(my heart was calling, and
I hoped, you had
heard it)

You are loud in public
(I wanted you to see me)
You keep to yourself
(it is safer that way)
I adore you
(I feel adored)
I want you
(I wanted you first)

Let’s get away, you said
(I am afraid to fly)
Let’s remember what we
wanted when we started
(I adore you)
I need a break, you say
(you broke me)


You (r charms)

I straighten a safety pin
from my desk caddy
trying the sharpness of the tip
against my thumb
watching with fascination
the bubbling up
of the dot of blood

Like a child I squeeze my thumb
to produce more
of the crimson minim
doming, then
dripping down my thumb
and to my desk with a splash
and still, I see your face
in the minute puddle

You and your infuriating way
of being right, always
so dear, so charming a way about
your wooing, but you know
sometimes you are so right
(for me) and I won’t tell you
because you are horrible
at taking praise

Post office

The girl in the ripped jeans
from the post office
is here again
buying coffee
at the doughnut shop
This time she glances, while
chocolate is on my lip

The boy shows up on cue
just after she orders
the one I showed my poems to–
I don’t give him away
watching him
smell her hair
while she pays the cashier

He is twenty-eight
with the air of one
that did not give up
his teenage years with grace.
He picks up a quarter, and
pockets it

My pen glides over the paper
an ice skater
dreaming of a masterpiece
in the middle of minutiae–
I don’t look up as they pass
his knuckles rapping my table

Our practiced ease
is a comfort
on no sleep and pastry
of my face in his hair
I look into my cup–
my coffee turning

my crush


I couldn’t resist him
because he looked like a boy
I liked in school.
with less hair, and
maybe an inch taller

His smiles were selective–
he would save them
for a jewel of a moment, then
one would emerge like sunshine after rai….
no, too cliché

When I watch


I love watching

you put on your stockings

The way your nails skim over them without snagging is a marvel

When I watch you, I turn sideways

could you change my

I guess you know.

don’t you.

That is why you don’t stop when he leaves.

I like when you turn your head to look back, saying things like

your hands
your mouth
your toes

then laugh

will you let it go

sometimes I write about myself
in third person
so you will never guess
that it is me
that I went through the fire
and came out charred and worn

it is best that you do not know
how often you come to mind
how well I know you
and talk about you to others
it is best you think
about someone else

don’t take this away from me
this safety of darkness
don’t lose the sense of wonder
they beat out of you, in the days
when you were just at the surface
gasping for air–