perhaps I live several lives
perhaps there is another me
on some dim and dusky shore
at a different smattering of stars
on a different canvas of sky.
and clouds, smooth
and balmy waves
that lick my scratchy
The power went out at three thirty today
and won’t be back until late tomorrow (they say)
so tonight people sleep in darkness, alone
with thoughts of their families they contact by phone.
Without TV, internet, or the refrigerator: I’m bored.
Since nothing I love functions without a cord.
No music, only sirens that blare in the distance
rushing through the dark to whoever needs assistance.
Every house on this street has one window
with the tell-tale orange of a candle aglow,
creating shadows on the street that dance and flicker
mind-made illusions—- but my heart still beats quicker.
On the radio, neighbors call in to give word of
public school closure (and their opinions —- it’s unheard of
for an entire region’s electricity to fizzle out so neatly,
the result of one electrician messing up so completely)
but the stars have never been this visible and many
and the moon in the sky is as bright as a penny
with a warm silver light that puts me at ease
in the midst of such chaos, an unlikely sense of peace.
There is a love letter taped to the break room’s
paint chipped door.
An awkward, bubbling stream of
thoughts stumbling into
a crumpled yellow sea of
lines: a sailor’s
humble sonnet to the vessel that
keeps him afloat.
hearts out of sync
(bodies in circadian rhythm)
I’d go back to school with you,
but the desks have
probably developed antibodies
for our fingerprints by now.
Do you still remember the cheesy instructional videos,
3-D adventures within the eukaryote,
the thespians who quoted Carroll in their depiction of mitosis,
overjoyed scientists singing about PCR?
I can no longer name any amino acids or
phylums based on their structures and
most defining characteristic,
but I know your middle name, I know
the awkward, cold efficiency of your movements,
the veneer of composure so often,
so easily marred by a luminescent blush,
the sinews of adolescence clinging desperately
to your bones
like a scorned lover.
Would visible embarrassment and
deplorable eyesight be considered
recessive traits? I seem to recall that
that’s not how evolution works,
when growing up is as slow as gel electrophoresis,
when I’m stuck at age sixteen on
the day you broke my heart.
They say the phrase is figurative, but something
must have shattered that day
(the glass bright pieces of our relationship),
something must have clogged up my right ventricle
and pulmonary artery, the section of the
cardiovascular system that pumps blood into the lungs,
because it feels like I can’t breathe,
it feels like I can’t take a breath without being
reminded of my brokenness.
If only I could locate and remove the sequence in my DNA
programmed to reflect on you in the fleeting hours of the morning,
when my tea is cold and the world is still,
still as distilled ice, still as fruit flies on a petri dish
after they’ve been refrigerated.
Time builds and rebuilds the helix
of a rift between worlds,
but we am wiser for the process,
and the core of being broken is
putting one’s self together again,
finding another vessel within
from which to draw strength, a process
as natural as the body breaking down
glucose for energy, as natural as
phototrophs reaching for the sun.
my first piece of poetry?
second grade. a complaint about the
time took to get food from the cafeteria.
i even read it aloud to the lunch lady.
I dreamed I rose from my nest and
went into the bathroom to take a shower.
The glass had disappeared from the window;
light and air came in
unsullied and unhindered,
exposing my nakedness to velvet flowerbeds and
the steady stream of reflections
from the puddles on the street.
People passed by.
They rode carriages and pushed strollers,
climbed trees and bought lemonade; they
came to your door in search of enlightenment
and afternoon tea.
No one looked
at me, too entertained by your
loud laughter, your blueberry scones,
your pseudo intellectual talk of
weather and politics.
I was unseen,
a ghost on the second floor, carrying the
story of my genesis within the curves of my
body, crisp and ready as the scent of dawn.
This morning in the shower, I quietly slid open the window.
Turn that backpack upside down, empty
out old scantrons, notes received in class,
throw out out any candy wrappers or
receipts, obligations or promises that
still may linger within its polyester frame.
Replace them with something more useful,
like air, or an umbrella, or a book that makes
you think, a lighter, a blanket to bear the cold
with, as your distant ancestors did while they
waited for the wolves to approach. Cut a narrow
path through your backyard, the neighbors’ yard,
the street corner, the cul de sac where kids play
roller hockey in tattered jeans, liquor stores and
restaurants run by ethnic families, office buildings
run by corporations that do not bleed when
they are cut, to downtown, where the secret rituals
of the hobos in the park late at night, are finally
revealed to you. Do they make fire by deserted
train tracks like they do in lifetime movies, or is it
another false image in the series of false images the
television feeds to you, everything heavily edited to be
flawless, infomercial products that fix every problem
you could solve by yourself. Work your way through
shrub-covered hillsides, chaparral, deserts, mountains,
valleys, through the rains, the suns, the moons, the stars,
until you are so acutely aware of each miniscule change
in the celestial system that you can predict a new
beginning even after the Mayan calender ends.
hide ‘n’ seek
I dreamed of you. You were not the center of
my life, only an axle to help me bear the weight.
If only the real world could be as easy as your smile.