because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

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Moving the grains of our hillsides

…it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways…

–from Mary Oliver’s Song of the Builders

–for c.

if i parse out my hurt
into couplets, throw

it a title in bold, will
you be able to read it,

then? the picture frames
stand empty, the lust

poems all curled up into ash, soot
smeared on the back of my left hand

like sad ink as i reach
to light the last of the candle.

the government is selling
off lighthouses, up East

in Massachusetts, out
West in the Great Lakes.

maybe you
could find beautiful there.

we have not come very far, here,
after all: the same lonely feel

in the upstairs window,
the same lonely matching scars.

i can’t afford a lighthouse.
the child’s tower built from old brick

in the backyard
has nothing of beauty,

is no house for light.
if i unmake it

and hand you back the bricks
one by one,

i want you to know
what they can mean.

Even the ones born to be butterflies

on the sidewalk
a hundred caterpillars,
yellow-striped like
bumblebees,

plummet wingless
& shrinking
to black nothings
on the hot brick,
kamikazes
that will never know
the blue of freedom

inching their mortared way
to the street, the ignominy
of asphalt, or along
the foundations
of the front door step
without ever
being invited in.

i wonder if they look up,
even once in their dying,
and see the stratified clouds dividing
the September sky
like spread
ribs, if they
imagine wings.

goosebumps

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the mornings, like so many things, begin
to grow colder.

there’s a heavy dew brushed across the lilac.
petunias closed up like rigid fists in pink and white and red;
the yellow chrysanthemums already popping.

is it too late to hold out hope
of strawberries? of eggplant?
of cotton blossoms by abandoned roads
that make me sad and alone
and in love all at the same time?

like the past that won’t leave

makes me think of snow and secrets
and, for some inexplicable reason,
cranes.

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