Letter

I’m sorry that you woke to a cold drizzle; 5 a.m. is too early and I know you prefer the sun. I tried to be warm, but no one believed me. Maybe tomorrow. I saw broken bottles and split stones and the ends of half-smoked cigarettes, brown from Wednesday’s rain. I thought I saw you in a puddle in the alley, but it wasn’t you. At the corner of Park and Belmont, there is a garden of orange and purple daisies that I’ve never noticed. In the adjacent lot next to Black Hand, the shade forms a triangle at the corner of this eggshell picnic table. I look up and listen to leaves and wind whisper. You are the green patch of grass and the dragonfly teasing with a dance before floating away… Here, the plants are bathed in slants of sunlight. Vines hold on for life to chain and picket fences, rusted and chipping. A great tree stands guard against the blue horizon, as if staring head on would be all too much. It is 7:06. The clouds are lilac and white and baby pink and the powder sky is reflected in the windows. You are the setting sun. Twenty minutes ago, it was warmer, brighter. I left my jacket inside. For a moment, the city lights outshone the stars, but I always knew they were there. Where did this distance come from? You and I, us and them. Still, the idea is fantastic. They tell me not to walk alone at night. But I love being alone, and you are the night.

What Wasn’t

No stale stench. No

window broken. No

Jonestown mound. No

lack of black humor. No

press for suicide. No

purpose shortage. No

nightly camaraderie. No

one rests. No

hand tremble. No

under table cover. No

cast away ash. No

neglect of rejection. No

tissue nor tear. No

waste of want. No  

inferno roar. No

onslaught of thought. No

silence. No

strangle. No

move to make. No

false mindfulness. No

seared smoke screen. No

clever invasion. No

obvious division. No

sanction secure. No

dark wins. No

ember glow. No

burnt candlewick. No

hot wax pool. No

fire final. No

last exit. No

thing.

1973

Barely budding,

you battle the burden of your

family’s canopy.

They forgive fragile you.

Before, your pliant boughs bent

in the breeze.

Now you splinter and snap

against their force,

and you sprint for the shore.

Vines of guilt spew from the jungle,

grapple at your ankles.

It is a question of loyalty.

Their lattice of blame holds you liable.

Once, a green girl, a stark contrast

to the Pacific blue.

Now a veteran of strange sands.

Your brown bark splits from exposure:

exuding sun and sea, empty

of earth.

But often, you pine for deep bush

over brine, for vines to carry you gently

from the firm current of shrewd tides.

Raw and weathered,

you confess distress

to the reflection of a

hallow sky.

Dust

I can see it

chaotic in the light.

I can feel it inside of me

flowing through my nostrils,

expanding in my lungs,

reverberating my shaky spine:

out and in

and out, again.

A thin film covers the records, the books,

the blinds that are sometimes

shut against the world.

I break the veil with my fingers,

feel it

collecting on the tips:

everything that ever

was, and ever is.

I’m only scratching the surface.

It circulates through the vents

one room

to the next,

one body

to another.

But no one ever mentions

it.

I wonder why.

Out of the zone
Now that I see
I don’t need them
And they don’t need me
I guess I’ll go home
Try to be sane
Try to pretend
None of it happened
Destined to be
Lonely old me
Whoops-a-daisy
I thought I was happy.