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,
This poem is not for you.
It walks behind me and laughs,
says you must
have strength to be
gentle (and tho i feel like crying);
We take pride in being southpaws.
This poem doesn’t hear the hurt
in a message (maybe)
meant for me, sent
to the second of your ex-wives.
with an ex-
are so insubstantial
as to nonexist.
It kisses me
on my merlot mouth,
the knife on the floor.
This poem knows its whiskeys
like truths: starkly & burning
in the back of the throat, finds
nothing light in either.
(Often there is strength
with no gentleness.)
It takes the Bottom paths,
sticks to canal lines,
the water, the river,
railroad overhead rumbling,
thinks about boxcars, speaks
my wistful, bitter into where
no one can hear, knows
i too always take the riverpaths
up Hill (and, sadly,
will not follow you home).
the leaves are nearly gone now, but the rose
we planted in early May persists, and i
can see still the scars the ivy left, pulled vine-like
and root-wise from the inside of the back fence.
when i feel lonely just right, they itch, the dark
fingerprints like love-by-night bruises
on the inside shadow of my back thighs,
drunk on espresso and vodka and dreaming.
it is after one, and the sheets have lost their color.
you are painted in moonlight through the open November
window, a crack. the rose is without perfume, but
we have no need to breathe. it is near noon,
and we are tangled in the poems that haven’t come
out in so long. my arms are stronger for it.
the leaves are nearly gone now, naked and dead,
but people gather in the park over the city
to sop up the autumn sun. there is a girl
and a dog and you are distracted, and dreaming
tastes like soap bubbles, easily broken,
worth the bitter for the bloom of the November rose