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Poetry

The election happened and now you’re driving north.November freezes in the birch trees. The fieldshave nothing left. In Wisconsin where you pass themthe hills go rolling autumn through the cold.

Exhausted, this light.It was supposed to shinepiercingly brightset the roof ablazemelt the fire escapespark mica in the wallsinge a rat’s whiskersin its hole.But side-swiped by a taxi door

Life may not be as bleak as it seems.

The hurried seasons—spring, summerand fall—may plow into winter’s caboose, send it vamoosing.

Asking peopleWhat happens to them          after they dieIs like asking babies in the wombWhat happens to them          After they’re born—How can they answerWhen they don’t even know

the laser brush we watchedburn soot off the gownof an ancient kore

the Delphic light, siftedthrough the nets of the godsto fall on us

a cold wet compress to her foreheada brisk rub and warm breath on her pale little handsa shiver     her eyes blink twice then openspring comes around slowly

Yesterday morning I’m pretty sure it was yesterdayI started walking along the beach toward someone whowould meet me at my destination. Where it was orwho it was I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Cancer is not a ringing bell,a queen of spades. Cancer is notyour mother’s hand-me-down, strung likepearls along the lymph nodes,smoky quartz clustered in the caving lung,

I’m sitting on a park bench noodling linesfrom a Billy Stayhorn song, Somethingto Live For, “watching the noon crowds,”when a woman bumps me with her hip.“How are you,” she asks, and I choke

Mom said, Kiss her hand.I didn’t want to kiss my teacher;especially not on the bulginggreen vein of her thin hands.I think she had red hair. She waskind. She sent a memo home:

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