exercise in Southern Gothic

train comes, its wrack
the undisguisably pickled

dregs of hope de-
composing, dreaming acidly

in blue glass, mason. so
much for bloated beginnings,

point-of-departure daggered
summer afternoons in the market

where souls are at auction as
they were lifetimes ago

and charlatans lien awned
forevers under skies that

darken and gradually un-
remember. she presses

thin dress over pale thigh, fights
wind-made wrack in torn fabric,

holds her voice white-knuckled:
what price would you pay

to drain the vinegar,
slough history, begin again?

 

 

When every bird cometh

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
–Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules

This is not
a love poem.
Sirens
sound outside
my downtown window:
another broken
heart.

Street lights burn
into mid-February
dark, remember Indian
summer afternoons.
The sirens stop.
In the silence leftover,
your pulse, slowed.

Hope hides
breathing low & fast between
the river and the
dying with its secrets
freckled
into the skin
of bare city shoulders.

A soldier
makes his way
uphill from Main
Street station, red
blossoms
stark
against desert camo.

There is no
snow, today.
A good day
for wing-ed
homecomings,
if one hungers
for such things.

still, life

the city sleeps wrapped
in gray dawns and dreaming

of snow, a different place
from what it was

this time last month,
last week. we pretend

the rain falls only
for the soft echoes

on bedroom rooftops, and i
am reminded

of how slippery
januaries can be,

their hunger
that seeps

through exhaust-
stained glass and

seeds my fingertips
with a dark need

for some sort of
acceptance

in warm flesh
or willing words.