Poem #12: Apology

Poem #12

Apology

 

I have taught myself how to say

“I’m sorry” in twenty different languages.

And find that so many versions of the phrase

already contain the plea for forgiveness––

the words like empty caves

waiting to be filled.

Poem #11: The Optometrist

Poem #11

 

The Optometrist 

 

My vision has grown increasingly blurry

over the past few weeks.

I strain to see the computer screen

or read my own palm.

 

Fearful of a neurological disorder

being the cause, I go to the optometrist

on Jamaica Avenue.

 

He sits me down in the exam room

and pushes the bulky equipment to the side.

There’s nothing wrong with your eyes,

he says. You think too much,

you need to meditate every day.

 

He proceeds to guide me through meditation

procedures and explain the fundamental principles

behind it for the next half hour.

 

Afterwards I walk home, clutching a prescription

for stillness in my hands.

Poem #10: Periphery

Poem #10

 

Periphery

The periphery is always

just out of reach for me,

that hazy and intangible land

that exists in the corner of my eye––

things seem softer there,

and imbued with more ease.

Poem #9:

Poem #9

 

I

I have discovered a universe

within a one-letter word.

I have travelled much of the space of it

but still have so far to go.

Poem #8: Walking home yesterday

Poem #8

 

Walking home yesterday

my neighbors had opened the fire hydrant

to bathe their two very large

and terrifying attack dogs.

 

The hydrant spray arced across

a good 20 feet of sidewalk.

I made it half-way through

until I reached the attack dogs,

 

They flashed what was either

a snarl or a smile in my direction,

and I spun on my heel and maneuvered

my way to cross to the other side of the street.

 

The neighbors yelled at me as I fled:

“They’re not going to hurt you, go ahead!

You have to have a little faith.”

Poem #7

Poem #7:

 

He Comes Back

like a howl that returns

to the throat of the grieving

after many years trying

so hard to forget.

Poem #6: The Impossible Egg

The Impossible Egg

 

At lunch the other day I ordered

what the menu referred to as:

the impossible egg,

out of sheer curiosity.

 

When it arrived I was underwhelmed.

It had a thin golden crust,

as though deep fried,

and was soft-boiled within.

 

“What’s so impossible about that?”

I asked my friend beside me,

perhaps a little too loudly.

 

When I finished my quite possible egg

I was still hungry. I had wanted

the impossible. I had wanted the egg

to be teleported to me from the future,

purple-yolked and freeze dried.

I had wanted it to levitate

above my pristine white plate,

a fog of cream sauce keeping it suspended.

I had wanted, for once, some magic

instead of more helpings of the mundane.

Poem #5

I hunt for holy things

in the matted grass

at the bottom of a hill.

 

Find instead: broken bottles,

used condoms,

and a telephone number

written on a coffee cup––

relics of a love gone awry.

 

I wait for a miracle

to come rolling down the hill at me––

I am too exhausted to climb up.

Poem #4: The Fevering

Poem #4: The Fevering

 

I swab his chest with an ice cube

to give relief from the August heat.

The ice becomes less and less

of itself as it travels his body.

 

Beneath his skin a thick layer of muscle,

and beneath that, I swear

something is moving.

 

I sing in partial delirium––

Oh summer, your wild crickets

and salt water and restlessness

has fevered my heart.

Poem #3: The Hour of the Dead

Poem #3: The Hour of the Dead

 

There is a certain restlessness

that only occurs after midnight,

so when the dead arrive

I wander off with them

and leave the living

to their slumbers.

 

I illuminate the road ahead

with a flashlight,

and sometimes place my palm

over its bulb, to watch my blood glow,

and the dead strike matches beside me,

for no other purpose

than to watch them burn.

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