High Desert MorningA par of quail and their jackbooted young paradeMore Like This
among the rabbit grass and summer-bleached sagebrush
beyond which the micro-garden has this morning
offered up a dozen radishes, six tomatoes,
twelve strawberries, a zucchini, cucumbers,
a handful of snow peas and a stewpot
of baby spinach leaves.
Stalks of columbine, trampled, cease to become;
a rabbit-torn salad strewn across the rocks.
Finches eye the berries. Crows watch from the rooftop.
A ladybug straddles the tip of a chive flower.
Now she's gone.
WaitingThe summer of ‘67, funerals fanned outMore Like This
like a poker hand in Mother’s family.
You could see she'd waited a lifetime
for this one, black dress in plastic,
handkerchief ironed and folded, ready.
She forced herself to touch the badge,
the service revolver he'd used, his Stetson,
sweat-stained on a hook in the hall.
She would conjure everything in time,
enough to rise above the casseroles,
the Jello salads melting in our kitchen,
hoarded tears poised above the glare
of Tupperware and Avon calling.
It was in the way she held her mouth,
her breath, waiting for something beautiful.
A childhood ago, summer nights,
her skin had prickled at the crunch of gravel,
his boots, hard across the floor,
the smells - leather, cigar smoke,
Macallan on his breath.
A five-year old wears innocence like iron
and a paper crown, shedding glitter.
She'd filled herself with crickets' song,
flown with fireflies beyond the glass,
as she waited for something beautiful.
True EmulsionOverexposed memories conjureMore Like This
old photographs - never quite you -
though I search with care
through layers of suspended silver halide,
processing the slightest chance
that an image might develop,
shifting blame to shades of gray
for every misdemeanor.
I wanted to coat glass with you, and plastic film,
even sheer cliffs - rising from a midnight sea,
rosy with all-night sun and fools' gold
strobed from crags of cupric oxide -
any substrate for my colloidal visions
I could not bear impermanence
or the inevitable fade.
Stop looking over my shoulderRenouncing it all, its transparent scarlet paper,More Like This
its sizzle, its over-the-top commentary,
I could push the sun down with the slightest breath —
quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
old newspapers and a judge, saying hello.
Sometimes you feel ghost-scripted by the storm.
Small detailsBeyond the sandblasted doorMore Like This
on the edge of a sofa,
black, knife-edged cushions
collapse under the weight
of too-small details.
Her shirt is camellia pink.
A Christmas tree is off to the side.
For a suspect, she’s cool,
dismissive. Her eyes reflect little
of her motive.
It was a long time ago, you think.
Let this one go.
What we know of fiveFive is the third prime number.More Like This
It is congruent, and in dreams we fear
Since it may be written as 221+1, we refer to it in whispers -
a Fermat prime - constructing polygons in secret
with nothing but a compass, an unmarked straightedge
and our prayers.
Five is also the third Sophie Germain prime, the first safe prime,
the third Catalan number, and the third Mersenne prime exponent.
Five is the first Wilson prime and the third factorial prime.
It is an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part, alone
in its power to insinuate itself into any twin primes
it meets in passing.
Five is the first good prime, yet among its brethren,
forever isolated by its own uniqueness.
Perhaps to keep it humble, the universe denies five only this:
a place at the base of the aliquot tree.
pedestrian gazerplexiglass wallsMore Like This
on Gibbs street
allow me to spill over like rooftop smoke
crowning fourteen floor towers
so that i can haunt hazy skies
exist in pits of stomachs
i am already opaque
so let me climb pipes
reach extend and rise
i want to fly