Self-Portrait as a Pair of Shoes Hanging from a Power Line         

(originally published in Fifth Wednesday)


Notice both of us not because
you have to; sit in your car
at the red light because there’s

something you have to know:
all the birds are already here,
all of them weighing down

this wire, and we’re all fighting
lonesome—we cough up
sand to create our own

castles, our voices rise up
only to become stones
set loose to graze on hillsides.


There’s nothing but time here,
so, wait:  I could love you,
though, you should know,

I’ve seen the way you devote
yourself to pavement and always
appear to be rushing, leaving,

even if only molecules
and I know you are gone,
have seen you try to stomp

yourself out like a brown recluse
hiding in the cardboard
of that thing you call a chest.


The strings suspending us
disintegrate like the white
flowers on the church lawn

on which a dog daily pisses.
I’m not afraid, like his owner,
who carries a knife because                                                               

she dreams of a faceless stalker—
could be Jesus, an old lady or the po-
lice. This is such an easy town.

Everyone is semi-automatic, and kids
aren’t backed into corners by the white
face of the moon heavy above high-rises.


It’s in the seagull’s glassy
squawk—that dangerous way
one must find a music elastic

enough to carry all the songs
from all of the tides that have stopped
writing secrets of the universe

in sand; we just hum along
as though we already know
that music. It’s not enough—

living with this kind of make-
believe, flying even though
our heads are buried in sand.