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


On the back page

Two bull moose, locked
rack to rack
like the knotted ribbon
of old love letters, sunk
in the slough of Unalakleet.
Their forms, frozen
still in battle,
were unearthed weeks later
under eight inches of ice
as two men toured the Bible camp grounds.
Miles south, months
before and after,
a cowhide-booted doctor
who farms loneliness outside Laredo
is fighting the desert
for the dried out bodies
of the hopeful,
their morgued hearts
still seeking, the rich
brown of them borne
to dye the shallows
of the Rio Grande.
They, too, wrote love letters,
found folded on their bones
in old jean pockets;
how could they know
every breath was an apology?
Like the moose, no one told them
where the color of our eyes
goes when we die,
that if we let our hands
speak for themselves,
they would say with their velvet tongues
that love is a thin and slippery
everything, not buried deep



In the East End,
in a brisk wind, sleeveless,
I blow dandelions
through the abandoned lot
by the doughnut shop
across from the all-week
fleamarket, watch the minivans
pull in and out,
the oldsters settling
at the counter in turn
with the newspaper
and a cup of coffee.
Huey Lewis belts softly
from a tv screen hanging
in the front corner;
I catch you singing
into your t-shirt happy
to be stuck with you
as I sidle up to order
my glazed lemon,
and, like she means it,
the waitress smiles.


Today’s morning dawns like déjà vu: how you
left like it was forever, how we felt
as impermanent as newly ironed sheets,
shifting bedrock to sift for truth
at the river’s bottom. A cloud of fruitflies beggars
by the front door, just-hatched things
kamikazi-ing for freedom. I find ants
drowning inside the honey jar, dead with smiles
on their tiny ant-faces. Black birds
bowl up inside the bedroom gutters,
scratch like chickens in a strong wind,
hungry for April. But the weather is changing, and we
no longer lightning rods drawn
electric to ground—wake early; unclutch;
go about our hours like icebergs
sunk in an ocean of minutes.