In Defense of Medicine

It is good when things steam fragrantly
It is good to say the word frangipani
or nougat
It is good to visit hermit crabs along the shore.
It is good to roast the radishes, their unexpected winters
good as the house’s darkest room mid-July
too good when the cat walks among the crackling ferns
or good to gather the alium globes
It is good to sleep in a half-circle of light, on the red rug
good to wake up in one’s clothes, cold and safe
an indentured haste, the blankets stacked nearby.

What absence marks itself good?
Good to come and go, good to love, good gracious
good fallen snow. We haven’t unlatched the door between
our hearts in some time, haven’t watched the good
flicker into a rope of lights. Cars keep driving into constellations.
And so far off, the idea of a good belting itself
out like a torch song, from the throat of every hour.

No threats in this pressed afternoon.
Everything bests an open margin. The door not
fitted to the jamb, an inch gap free to the yard.
Ants touch antennae saying it’s better that honey
adheres in the tile’s runnels and the telephone
wire runs a highway along the eaves. We didn’t want
to call your name or make arch promises, we wanted to be
goodness, to be good. We wanted orange horizons, white clouds,
all to ourselves—-

instead, a white liquid swallowed
at mealtimes, a mountain-dew infusion, the stark curatives
of evening, some good, some bad—-shuffled
like a deck of cards, put in their places.


Poem Through a Glass

The wind comes down by invitation, snaps the leaves,
a film over the glass where green decides to shed
so many versions of itself. Pine needles, grass,
fiddlehead whorls into fragile camouflage.

How heaped the disarray of our intentions: patience
in its small chair, mothwing promise. We monitor desire,
measuring its reach with a divining rod—-
hauling vows from tree stumps

We’ll fall into a white current if it means that the hand gets
what the hand wants. Wind slides against the flesh
like water, like the water’s hands.
Last wishes made of mouths against glass

Furlongs and furloughs, we draw lots for a clear thought
about nature, imagine the hard-hearted seed underfoot.
Its filaments stretch into stiff bracken, enclosure, the very thing
we guard against, our weather-eyes open.



Shifting our breath to
match the sway
of imaginary pack-mules,
we started as if we
knew the way—-
knew each small mercy
we’d be accorded

Where to go once
the straight paths through
woods put prayers
in my hair? Said
in an overheard whisper
my god all full of meteors.

In shadows, not a single
thing to gaze at but
the slightly lighter black
around the cabin where
the air of the interior
forms an aura. Phlox droops

into the roads, a car
swerves, scattering sharp stones
six fat green beetles hum
through night sky, little power
boats, iridescent motors
whirring traceless through

trees. Who wonders
about these presences
on a dark road? Who ignores
these arcs, impacts or
accidents? Who takes the flights

doomed to end in a sudden
surge upwards—-


Moon with its Head in My Mouth

I got the moon by text:
an inordinate amount of sky
then a ladder
propped in sands
and leaned against a wall 
you could see
from space.

I didn’t pursue the wind
left everyone
at the pixelated skirt of this
system: chest like an empty bottle
one message sent,
one black scent
coloring the air inside my mouth:
my sleepless phase.

Each rung was a phrase, forgotten
once it was uttered. I rose, and my
silk parasail was a midnight yawn:
I hung in the sky. I imagined
the pressure of his hand
on mine, thought it would rouse
the animal of care, would open my heart like a tiger
mouth. I’ve said this phrase before.
I have no answer for him but quiet and teeth.



blackness claimed the lake, but
we weren’t leaving.

we slipped through its coldness
like cream,
pressed our feet deeper into its soft floor.

A doe’s eye contains dozens of weathers,
the night sky only one.

the loss of a day, the misplaced gather
of afternoon, full of measures,

we drowned our stories in water,
black diamonds tore the quiet surface—-

frail trees padded with bark,
ringed and ready
for the blows we might deliver:

debris or movement,
we each had to own it.

a cloud drifted across our chests,
a stone rolled out of the quarry

a snake as simple as a power line, pulls itself
into a settled pose,
a hidden life
in branches: some things untold—-

the lake sleeps,
but the trees hold out their leaves
like nets for snow.


gold whisper of the neglected rendez-vous

one in the afternoon and I’m channeling you, your throttle-down fm radio voice, your sheer-skin floating off you in waves.

the mini-golf hall full of skeletal animatronics spin their gauze and I mutter to the zombie,
set off in his electrocuted rage, you’re fine.

but the persistent ghost of boardwalks and drive-in movies, the sound of sand billowing into sea—-it waits like a patient in a backless gown.

in a hurt sleep, a ghost tries to flare seagulls in billboard light, turning its mobile
of paper dreams. distracting from the naked carnival

out on the sand, flat plane declining in one direction
towards an answer or a motherlode,

the scales flayed from sparkling fish in the summer heat, a pier whispering soft litter and feathers. you strained to hear its musical question,

a one-tone arpeggio crush, egg scum collecting silent notes.
where did you go in all this gold-veined
neon above the sea