keep falling in love with strangers and you’ll confirm
that it’s not the fall that kills you, but the sudden

there are endless mysteriously sad eyes
half-surrendered smiles and quiet meals
to run barefoot through fields to. i know you
dream of what was lost
but hear me out, i’m from a keep-your-shoes-on
kind of family and that bit of cautious
discomfort keeps the glass out of your heels

with practice

sometimes you get too close a look at the cracks
in your psyche and think
they should put me down. it’s true that the voices in your head
were once outside your head
speaking to you
about you

playback amplifies it, brewed fresh daily
like it’s keeping you alive when really
it’s an infection eating its way through your gut
picked up in the blood
pumped through your heart and into every cell
in your stupiduseless body

when i was in school this professor threw up a picture
of a bone infection on the screen
no warning.
it made me dizzy. that guy didn’t teach
that it takes at least eight weeks of antibiotics to touch that
he was an ass
and anyway, it’s one of those things
you learn on your own


shattering all the windows

that year, i lived in an apartment that was too much like
Big, but empty
nothing worked. fuses blew and needed to be unscrewed
and replaced. the radiators leaked
so it was cold all winter and the oven
gave up in October. i didn’t know it
at the time, but my landlord was caught laundering
drug money and also, i
was depressed

that’s why i was so skinny then
when we met
so skinny and depressed
oblivious to it all.
he came over to bake cookies once
right before the oven crapped out. now
i’ve an underweared man
in the kitchen
take out pizza with extra ranch because who cares
and other married


there was once a love that cut so deep
it wove into my soul
and when the spring came weeping
it flowed and flowed and flowed

the stems sprung up, almost at once
have you seen the bloom in May?
the paths were blazed and well worn when
they lead you straight to me


i saw the comedians between shows
       there were these circus dogs, once
sitting at the bar
       locked back in their cages
drinks in hand
       eyes downcast and listless
‘hey, i really enjoyed the show’
      cos how it is when no one’s looking is all there is, isn’t it?

now what

“now what?” he snapped
as i walked into his room. i am
taken aback before i remember
they found colon cancer three days ago
i remember it’s Friday
that i will get to drive away from the hospital
windows down, even,
and go wherever i want

now what


one day we’ll try to throw kids
into the mix, that hope, that wonder
when i saw a boy, six or seven, struggling
to put on his jacket, talking softly to his dad and i thought
Wow, what if we had a son

What if he was soft spoken, clever like his dad
had his eyes and his disposition and patience
really all he’d need from me is
my hair, if he was a she, cos like i told you the night
we met, you have crunchy hair
it’s nice, but not for a girl, she’d be poofier than My Big Fat Greek Wedding
that i knew as i patted your head at the bar
that night, i thought What a man
i’ve found

if not for you

if not for you i’d never lift the dark cloak
that hangs heavy on my shoulders
there’d be no ladder leaning
from the holes that i dig and i’d sit
at the bottom, rotting like food
forgotten in the fridge

if not for you, there’d be no hand
to lead me back inside
if not you, no one knows how to flick back on
the light