So you’ve caught me again
beneath the night’s black tongue,
pushing my head under
the bathwater.
It’s nice you know I’ve
a tendency for this:
All the old things rising I
tamp down and tamp down
While you sit beside me.
Pet my arm.
Is it unfair, do you think,
to call them demons?
After all, you said once in a stare
that there is nothing
that is holy,
Not a fresco or spire
of red rock in Utah;
no sermon or manifesto
to drive a bleakness out.
Only bodies, which touch bodies
and say several small truths like
I love you, and How the light
looks fine on your shoulder
Could be good enough to soothe
a sour mind: Somehow that alone
a hope.
You’ve shown me.




(reprinted here by permission of Off the Coast)
At dawn she wakes,
his hand on her ankle.
That working man thumb
pinched round the pale of her foot.
His mouth & head
shiny, open, empty.
She thinks of the twins
who came out the womb tumbling.
One clinging to the other’s heel.
Too like in want, that story’s end
near bloody.
Ain’t that the way of it though.
Enter the world together,
one’d fix to take the other out.
Supposing he the hairshirt, she the hair.
She fully knows. They’ll devastate
with hate the same they do
with love.
(Her aunts always said too much fire
on the kettle with that one.
She’s bound to turn a man.)
& That may be, she thinks. May be.
But for now he is dreaming
& oh the wash of wind,
the Pleasant river smashing.


I Try
I Try

I try to trim the fat
from these lines,
iron them flat.
I don’t know yet
how the story goes.
What there is in it to
cut meaning from.
A field is a field
in night or in day.



Childhood Room
Childhood Room

What gets in
through a window

of you
climbing the sill,

world weary,
5 am

and settling
to bed again.

I pretended
every time
not to see

just breathed
you in
you in,

sea air
in your hair.