Fractures

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

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 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)

Spring Picnic

They sat together and talked while the clouds couldn’t decide whether to be dark or white, changing and dancing in their indecision of midday. She would say, ‘I think it will rain,’ and look for her umbrella in the bag though she knew damn well she did not pack it. He would lean back and watch her shoulders move with her emotions, straight and soldier’d when content, shaking, when she laughed at his jokes,  then later, sagging under the knowledge of what was taking place. The day was heavy for her, but not to him, because she had not told him in advance. It was a picnic. It was sandwiches cut into rooftops with potato chips and red grapes in zip-lock baggies. It was a checkered tablecloth on the grass, still damp with May when one leaned with an elbow, feeling the earth depress.

He sat up and crossed his legs, looking at his hands. They were soft from pushing a pen and typing for thirty-five years. One arm bent to go around her shoulders, his hand hanging relaxed. “My mom asked if you could come to dinner on Thursday,” he said, and coughed, reaching for a pack of cigarettes. With a little shake, one flew up vertically and he took it between his lips. He replaced the pack with a lighter, and sparked the tip, inhaling deeply. He lounged again, exhaling the other way from her. She did not answer. Those shoulders stayed very still. Scary still. “Can I give her an answer tonight? We’ve been together a year and she wants to meet you.” He cocked his head to read her face, but the sun got into his eyes.

“We can’t make it.”

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Twisted candy

I saw us
as chocolate and cherry
but over time
we are
Lemonheads and black licorice
sour and bitter
just enough sweet
to keep you on my mind

and every time it rains
we melt a little more
hold on baby
it is going to get
slippery
each dream
a place to get traction
if we do not let go

I loved you at the station

and to consider you anywhere else
whether it be glade or glen
or the food court at a mall
would tarnish our veneer

your backdrop of rail yard and crowds
a pillar of smoke rising
from your corner of the shelter
as you waited and I was late

was worthy of being painted
would it be possible to capture
all of you and the trains and the depot
in the brush strokes

our love is abandoned baggage now
left at the side of the tracks
waiting for its master, as we have gone
two separate ways

Confessions

I try to tell you
without warning
tulips
in a Sèvres vase
between us
your face full of care
but you don’t say why
stirring tea
endlessly

If I were brave
you would hear all of it
this plan
concocted in a
twelve-year-old’s
window
(looking out)
what will it take?
glass showering

Our fingers
forming a web
between us
(you lift your hand
to brush hair
off my forehead)
and I shiver
with the notion
of one hundred nights

I trample you
and you ask for more
(assumptions,
predictions)
and this storm
of peach schnapps
the tip of your tongue
lazy and saying
come on

Each day
a new destination
to reach
that sunset with you
still seeing me
armed-
I draw you
into every waking hour
(the way I see you)

Perhaps in time
my solitude
could be interrupted
by your own
sunlight
from somewhere deep
(do you suppose)
it could be you
in the long run

Puddles

Can you hear me?
My voice is quieter
after the storm
the windows shut tight
to keep the rain out

When the blue gets in
in spite of my weather-proof house
I pull up the memory of a day
when the rain felt good

We splashed and danced
and thumbed our noses
at the soaking wet
knowing we could take it

wearing our
falling-in-love-again macs

Raining for days

Are we fools
The rain falls and we avoid it
afraid to shine in the middle
of puddles afraid to be struck
soaking clean in April
still trying to get it up
that umbrella
we are better off without

Are we off our heads
when we walk in opposite directions
despite the signs in front of us
mile after mile
not to mention the one
on which I smacked my head
and all those words
you knitted together through the winter

Are we finished
the rain falls over us
where I tied you to the park bench
a gift so that just once
you could see inside my head
while I dance in the rain
tell me, when I untie your wrists
and your ankles, will you run

or will you be dancing with me
when the morning comes

Precious

diamonds.jpg

She cried during Star Wars
and he laughed at her
which made her cry more
turning to lay her cheek
against the cool glass
raindrops on the window
like diamonds

‘Isn’t it precious,’ she thought
lighting a cigarette
and hearing him cough
from across the room
but he’d never tell her to stop
crazy about her grumpy moods
in love with how she exhaled

“Maybe we should get away,” he said
getting up and walking over
kneeling at her feet, and
wrapping his arms about her legs
hearing her reply how she liked
things the way they were, and
feeling her fingers in his hair

Do we have an accord?

I am in the kitchen writing out my life.
Chopin is in the living room, urging me not to quit.
The sadness (over breakfast) and a hurried car ride-
heavy and burdensome.

I don’t care (I said) because of course
I care more than life itself-
but if I have to give up my life
in the process (I don’t care) .

Then what is the purpose of living
this strangling, overarching plot
that no one would buy
is poking at my last nerve.

So it is like this. That you will
treat me kindly in the future
and I will continue to write my life.
This is the contract I bid you sign.

Cool wind (with apology)

blackbird

 

When the winds shift
next day after a storm
a cool wind (with apology)
I can smell you from over the water
please take me home
keep my feet on solid ground

There is no guarantee
that the dirt won’t shift
and all this we built might crumble to bits
but I am finding it hard to trust the breeze
flighty and self-centered

You make a fool of me
my dignity lost in the air
debris caught up and flying about
with your smell
the woods and rain that you live in

feeding my thoughts each day
waiting for them to propagate
watching for the moment
when seed becomes brain-child
when the scent of you and the juniper
are impossible to resist