on the day lightning struck the Vatican, i

roses, 1.1

was drinking wine &
thinking about penitence,
thumbing through possibilities
of ever after. i have known much
of bleeding, after all, of

bea(u)tification, and now
it’s Ash Wednesday, as they say
in the French, and all
the red roses are gone
from my hair, and it’s

raining but
we still dream in blades and
villanelles and other vague
heart shapes.
to our own

very great surprise
we have survived the night,
came through in stereo,
with beads on, and

this is what goes on the last page


we fall, as the year
into december, so
wetly longed-for.

the rush
that calls our quiet
is the absence

of sirens.
the rails we walked
for so long

now blink
into forever,
a smoke-curl

on january’s horizon.
your left hook
is useless

against the coming
that kind

of hardness
can only melt
or burn.

day-dreaming in stolen words

children chase the shadows
of butterflies round a fountain
of stone; pink
blooms of crepe myrtle drift in
the august breeze to land

teasingly on skin, clothes, hair.
she finds it strange
how every man who has ever said
he loves her has also said
you deserve better;

hikes up her skirt to let
the late afternoon sun
kiss knees, thighs;
wonders. the moon
will be small and orange

tonight, a plaything
for summer’s dying gods.
who will kiss
her noon-shadow,
chase the butterfly wings down

the arch of her back, crown
her summer-glow
like a prom queen in pink crepe,
carry her home when
august has ended?