Picking Plums

Her love is a plum,
cat-tail brown
markings on skin.

Purple earth
smooth as a spool
of raindrops,
whose contours
meet sky like a nest
on a branch.

Witness how curves
end as they started,

core at the center,
coated wax bloom.

Sun dries the dew,
the baskets are full –
fleshy heart swollen,

she shakes the flames
from her hair.

The Meadowlark

I didn't sleep
well last night
without you.
Dreamt of birds
falling and dying.
A nestling's scruff
was muscled
lamb tongue
in its mother's beak.
Bent trees walked
out of reach;
She pumped, strained,
dusted nothing,

as the body of the babe
swelled heavy –
smashed to the ground,
vertebrae splinters.
I cupped my hands
and ran outside;
I woke up at 4
and had toast
with jelly.

Cannot Wanton Wishes Rise,

keeping with the death of now?

Holy, holy my limb my bough
is never near my heart somehow
my spectrum blinking madly soon

argue you? What I have not kept I cannot lose

and still as when the moon does shake
the softness descends to heal the break

Bees in the Wall Behind the Chimney

the wall pulsates, pores skinny
and talkative as any song.

a young tree-scaler, i knew
the insufficiencies of nature,

the advantages of hiving in
the pretty stomach of the house.

to feel chimney heat on bee belly
is to caper (pollen dusted,

moving, grace-filled, cautious),

with hopesome autumn laughter.

touching legs to harvest heads
around twisting tops of nectar buds:

who undress digested cornerless
lawns, who cannot undo

creosote notes humming

dense combs, how hotly my
palms survey cavity walls.

steeply drenched petals of
deep tilting space, white

sparks ascending like creaking tree
limbs, a fleet of balloons to the moon.

Soft as Moth Bodies


The dead are covered

by dead leaves,
year round.
Lost in the
milling swarm,
through the leaves
side-stepping your departure,
pollen dusted carcass.


Pleading train
furled around us
in the dark.

We could live here.
You're my type.

I felt grim as the stars
smashed heavy
and insensible.

You spoke history,
madness, motionless.
Night expanded following
gears and tracks,
the lack of space
between our bodies.


Violent lightshow,
midnight television
on mint-green walls,
ochre carpet.
Leaves orgasm in the wind,
turning over, white surrender.
Acidic haunt of car alarms,
a distant place without a name.
Through porch rail on cool cement
in the safety of house embrace,
I watch as moths rise from the grass,
as if they knew what it meant
to remain there.


Tonight I'm driving, first time in six days.
Dropped $51.31 at Walmart:
mushrooms, gallon of milk, violet eggplant,
four rolls of White Cloud soft & thick.
I left everything as I wanted to find it;
to come home to a home with clean sheets,
shining sinks, shoes aligned on the braided
rug by the door and the quiet of the walls
blows its hot laughter across
the backs of my arms like a distant cousin

with something to prove.

On the plane you ordered me an iced orange juice,
and nuzzled my neck, a brave calf
exploring the world for the first time.

I wonder if Lincoln Park has room for us,
a tree-lined street with a gated stone yard.
Turn down the radio.
Leave your Surly Cross-Check at the door
and I'd rub your temples and read
of ancient men with enormous wings
and fall asleep in our comb in the hive.

Dusk lowers itself over Kent, Ohio,
huge quilted heaps of red;
Mucus-soft trails line wings and flesh,
lightning bugs scavenge for remnants
of day like jets adding stars where the gods
need them most. I carry my groceries
up two flights of stairs,
red ribbon around my waist,
the Oxfords you bought in Wrigleyville
laced up and hot on my feet.
Tomorrow I will scoop ice cream again,
and you will tutor Brooklyn at the center
with her friends
because this home with clean sheets
and friends at the bars
and new buildings downtown
is ours and it's just how we left it.

I come home to a home with wind
in his eyes, the world at his feet
and all the room in his heart for me.