teacher from the basement

“I don’t think he’s at rest yet”
they agree, saying he’s knocking

on the grave, rolling; Remember
you can only improvise if it is written

down and in bassoon shift;
Knuckles rapping more gently

(than his pen on the music stand)
on the wooden floor, beating joints and fingers

and the swollen notes cough out of us and
out of our accordions still.


Can you laugh like Marilyn?

No, her laugh is less of a sound
and more of a visual something
you remember in retrospect, more
of a hollow bulge of sun, a
billowing neon rock that when heard
is expansive, but you know
from memory there’s nothing

That’s why I can’t laugh like her.
It’s full of light
and I’m made of soil and
lawnmower clippings.

crashes that are not mine (move the rest of the day in waves)

Light is shattering
Across I-70, shards.

Clutter redirecting
open mouths, glistening (Impact, they breathe)

As if I could hear anything but the road
demons braying by my outside rear-views.

It keeps shattering:
a car spilling

across lanes, trucks, tires,
bouncing lights farther

and more comes.

The day shutters

until the unlimited light pinks
at a Maryland rest stop.

My coin slips into the maintained silence
of vending machines.

My coin shatters once blank

Water Slowly Becomes Air

(I am beside the wall)

Standing by the edge.

Air quickly becomes water.

Under the ocean are surprisingly
focused focused tunnels.
Our hair floats in them but we don’t
not now need air.

understaI don’t understand
their directions.

for R.E.C.

Slow and
clean ungraceful metal
shelves dampen.

Libraries are dampened
with shadows, we
read their blooms.

Gather lost skin
cells bundled
into book pages,

their unnecessary fibers
grazing hair follicles,
In which

we decompose
and lighten.
Dampen the chairs;

move them out of the necessary
shadows, our imprints
are only left.

Our imprints are left as shadows
in papers, in bindings, on dusty
dull metal shelves,

on college entrance essays.
Girlie, I’m glad
you didn’t wait for us.

We are left
ungraceful to read
your shadows.

Cherokee National Forest, Tennesee

soft stones
& trees.

Cuts out of blue
green water a V
in the horizon.

steam lifts out
of the cut:

To the sun,
only sliding
over pebbles,

A fish stirs.
Nothing altered,
except rusted

cans in dark
damp triangles
beneath stones.

Bees check holes
in dead sycamore wood
or London planetree;

Finally waterskiers
break the lake.