THE WAY WE MOVE

When I was a boy,
I went down to the cave
where the pendulum hangs.
It showed me
how the world had moved.

When I’m my worst self,
hang your hair on my chest.
I’ll let go of the rest
– just remind me
how I’ve moved for you.

THE GOOD HURT

Come in from the snowfall and darkness,
when we let those starry dust petals
– as brilliant and unique as the strands
of our DNA, winding through us
– rest in the tangles of our hair
and soak into our top coats.

Come in and run the numbness
of your palms below the faucet,
wishing warm water was the lone
and simple cure for this feeling.

I’d bet every song I love
that it hurts.

When your important, fragile pieces
are the coldest they’ve ever been,
I pray you find your equal.

IRELAND

I bloomed: A pair of tealights sat glowing
along your canopy, dancing at such height.
“All flowers in time bend toward the sun,”
they said. Though, in daybreak and nightfall,
I still swam in the riverbed of your lights.

DELICATES

The image in the mirror doesn’t beg me
to look back much anymore
– but I do listen. Home: after petting hello
to the pooch and unlacing both shoes,

I slip immediately out of my ironed
and pleated skin. Plucking lukewarm clothing
from the dryer’s lifeless mouth, I fold all which lies
within – only to unfold by sunrise. I once made
my daughter’s bed in this way, too:
perpetually in a state of undress.

Back behind those bleach-white walls each evening,
I remove infantile blue jeans and forever
stainless blouses with frill like eyelashes, socks
too small to even have bothered buying. Some days

I think the dryer has made my wife’s clothing
into miniatures… but then I remember
the endless cycle I go through often
– of running my daughter’s clothes
once more. She’s gone from here, yet

I still stand holding her gown. The covers:
the skin of her skin. How clean
her wardrobe cannot become
is no matter. Only the adults played dress-up:
on that Monday, draped in her finest,
she let us throw dirt in her eyes.

UNTITLED TYPEWRITER POEM NO. NINETEEN

19

After every instance
in which you have pressed
the tips of your fingers
to the gates of your mouth
and offered in my direction
the seal of your lips,

I have caught
all offerings
and accepted
each gift
more willingly
than the last,

and I hold each kiss
within my fist—
So when I am given
your final gift,

when I loosen my grip,
a lifetime will pour out,
and the winds of our love
will shape the skies above.

UPON READING “ON SEEING THE ELGIN MARBLES”

I fear nothing less than mortality
and its dearest old friend, infinite Sleep,
which calls to me from its mountain throne, steeped
in the unknown desire for peace: to die
still believing in a walkable sky.
I have thus had many chances to weep
over lost loves I once intended to keep
near, so no longer must I dry my eyes.
Though, on that final bed, watch as my brain
wars with my heart, building on their aged feud;
search within me and discover this pain,
and watch as my last breath becomes a rude
awakening: that this life is the main
life, chiseled into marbled magnitude.

THE GREAT UNKNOWN

I

I seek a time away from home
in a land unknown— somewhere
I can go and shape around myself
a sense of longing.

I could use pain;

I could find it in an experience
like this, like a journey into
the foreign nature of discomfort.

II

I have slept,
warm,
for so long.

Shouldn’t I shake?

I have stood,
still,
through each song.

Shouldn’t I shake?

I have hanged,
mute,
like a gong.

Shouldn’t I shake?

SONNET VIII

I breathe, I live; I see, I take, I hold
the hymnal of your body in my hand,
which hopes the hymnal rots and turns to mold
so it cannot be seen on sea or land.
I pray I can forget the lyrics’ rhyme,
but like the moss which grows upon the woods,
it spreads like kudzu, even growing vines
from which it does not swing, though, it well could.
Yes, it could swing and sing its very song,
but rhymes would rather hear their chosen voice,
so like the Mariner of times since gone,
I’m bound to share your rhyme; I have no choice.
But…
I breathe? I live? I see, I take, I hold,
then, my own neck ’til I am fully cold.