in the street, a small boy hums the twelve
days of Christmas under a hot June sun.
cobwebs gather like cotton in the windows
in a matter of days; i stay
up too late reading stories i already know,
wage war with my body, long to sink
drowned in a hot bath, or back down
onto the cool stone floor
of the kitchen where
you made me forget the heaviness
of my skin, where gardenia slips
through the screens– the plant
they said will never make it
through the frost.
every movement of my hand
is hedged; even dreaming;
even sweaty against the tile, there
are still more clothes to wash,
still more doubts to run clean.
it is hot for this time of year, we’re told,
no relief in storms.
it’s five a.m., and a firetruck screams red
& white through crust-eyed darkness, winding
its labyrinthine, becoming distance,
still; soft; threat.
The roar of the rapids as loud as the drizzle is soft.
Wanderers in slickers flick past,
fingers numb, barely looking.
Oh but you can see them,
the Great Blues, hopping
lonesomely from stone to stone
amid the rush of white water,
nests cold and dizzying and far.
Overhead, there is no rumble.
The tracks stand sad sentinel, drip
down to the worn pages
where Walt marks his yawp,
there, under the trestles,
above the river and the wastewater and the burnt-
out campfires, unrivaled in the rain.
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