Neutral Recovery

“Nor it nor no remembrance what it was.”

Someone sick in neutral recovery I know
Lifts autumn leaves from her eyes,
Dresses in her nakedness,
Walks half the hospital road
Where visitors come and go
Like days through a breathing tube.

You can see the leveling in her face
And at her fourth-floor window,
October mixing with her image,
Branches growing slowly bare,
All her hope appeased and fair,
Lingering like a longer summer.

Someone sick in neutral recovery I know
Gathers all her strength for winter,
Goes more boldly into cold,
Neither well nor worse in her transparency.

Mythic News

How can you kill a Daphne Caruana Galizia?
That’s like killing all flowers,
like killing ourselves
to get at it something already dead.
How can you kill a Daphne Caruana Galizia?
She was made from everything
between non-being and substance.
She was made from the fabric of words.
She takes root in truth.
She branches into the immaterial
like prophecy, like genus, like blood…
How can you kill a Daphne Caruana Galizia?
That’s like killing off trees
expecting light to crown its own shade,
like killing numbers
and seeing plurality die:
Daphne Caruana Galizia, Daphne of Malta,
Daphne transformed.

Bitting Cuts

I’ve dad’s key to the barbershop.
I keep it on my key ring
for its wistful returns.
It opens the barbershop door.

There’s dad, arms frozen in air,
asking me to sweep ancient hair.
I don’t mind but for cinema lines,
in which case I’m still embarrassed—

People looking in, as through time,
at the immigrant kid
swept up in a barber’s dream,
without purpose or ambition.

Watchmaker’s Paradox

I return to the watchmaker
whom I’ve killed before,
dead battery and time capsule,
fixed on this escarpment,
a zombie in love with a dream,
nostalgic for a golden age,
arms heavy with toxic snails,
hands moist with murderous gel
and my nuclear arsenal
and hairspring trigger
for his eternal recurrence.
I return to the watchmaker
whom I’ve killed before,
being of his chronology,
mirroring my own assassin,
deep time running under strata
like gear trains through mind.


                  for my son

Several winter storms broke off
the southern point like a finger of ice,
though Lake Erie’s waves dredge up
the lakebed and resuspend a shoreline.

Last year there was a marsh fire
that burned to its reflection.
This year the reeds and cattails
are born of ash and water.

Didn’t our bird sightings migrate,
the book of native plants grow wild,
the binoculars sprout antlers
and gaze back into us like a forest.

Whenever we return to the park
distance folds time into waves,
like any transoceanic migration
that erases its own path– we are here.

Solar Eclipse

The dead can look at the eclipse.
I stand with my back to the sun,
a shoebox viewer and pinhole
for the shadow play in miniature.

The moon crept across the sun
as though God were inserting
a nucleus into a cell, implanting
renewable energy in the solar engine.

My dead brother wept for the light,
while our loving mother,
radiant through darkness,
offered solace to her dead sons.

At the limits of lunar mass,
trans-elementation complete,
vultures lift off the sun’s rim
as though from the tree of life.