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

love

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.


the loneliness of train whistles

tracks over Mayo
the loneliness of train whistles
has been known
to keep us up at night.

when there is moon,
we play hopscotch
on  old sidewalks

with chalked silhouettes
of desire. when there is not,
we walk white-footed the rails

by the river, counting
darks between shadows
until the sun

comes and grows and
our backs bend too heavy
so we turn them

from the creosote-soaked
tang of the city
to dig holes in dry dirt,

filling them up
with all the weight
of emptiness.


it is a long way since 17, but

pipeline with rose petal

by midsummer i
am all riversand and
freckles, inkdreaming

in a language re-
born from murk
and rivermud.

and though
it is good growing
weather, all

sticky rain
and cloudless
noons, my vinedark

currents are slow to crawl,
slow as the sun eats
shadow.

snugged close
on a narrow doorstep,
swatting mosquitoes

seems suddenly
like some kind of love.
so we soak up each

heavy july evening
as if we knew
we weren’t meant

to last. as if fall
were already falling.
as if this were

another country
song dripping
to its end.


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