On the Last Day of April

I wanted to say something insensible
about a dead end, how it looks
like a maypole but can’t be danced
around. So many things can’t be
avoided now, as the earth warms
or doesn’t. I wanted to say
farewell to cold, the rain that finds
rivulets in your bone. But I only know
that some things stop and others
continue, and I can’t help you
make any more sense of it than that.


Prompts: Poetic Asides (dead end) and Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (maypole). And with that, another National Poetry Month comes to an end.


Haphazard Arrangements by Which We Are Made

How is it that we are arranged
like a demon made of
All the spokes of all our
wagon wheels
turning in on themselves;
these are
haphazard arrangements
by which were are made.
It’s a wonder that any of us
is human, or alive
for more than a week,
or able to say much
for ourselves
that has never been heard



Prompt: Poetic Asides (haphazard).


Star Crunch

We were in the habit, then,
of eating a Little Debbie Star Crunch
before any major decision.
This was before we realized that they

tasted strangely of raisins
and sweated the package
with heart-clogging fat.

How were we supposed to know?
Our job was to sit on front porches
with poster paint, try not to spill it,

and wonder about things we could sell.


Important Information about Your Account

All the smaller informations in it
are not true.
We believe you own a jackal
about as much as we believe you invented popcorn.
You create tiny explosions of falsehood
every time you open your mouth.
After your accident, you became as untrustworthy to us
as intermittent sun through vertical blinds,
catching itself, believing itself uncaught.



Prompt: Poetic Asides (Important ____).


I Mean What I Mean

If Roman sandals could carry a world
over heaps of diamonds, I would
sketch the scene
on the side of a box of pears.
I mean what I mean:
Excelsior Interruptus brand pears,
or World Beater, maybe,
the sandals slicked with rain,
the pears spotted with sun,
the box forgotten in your attic
until one day you find it
while looking for something else.




Catching up from travel. A Poetic Asides prompt from a few days ago (footwear).


Our Lost Things Await Us

In the lost and found
there are
items that need our attention.
A raveled thread,
a hole in the sock of life:
We were gone for several days
and now we are not.
Our lost things await us
on a certain folding table
at the top of the stairs
as a janitor polishes the floor.
If we left again,
maybe he’d still be there;
forward and back, forward and back
goes time.



Prompt: Poetic Asides (lost and regained, from a few days ago when we were out of town).


A Matter for My Own Heart to Resolve

If my flower-and-bird painting–which I left on the wall even after you returned
from the flower show–was in any way heartless, then I certainly do apologize.
I was thinking of taking off (on a short flight, or a long one) the whole time
you were here, when I should have been thinking of nothing but the experience
of fragrance, how not to generate a mood of oppression. Tell me: Has the season passed?
Am I now left to be my own teacher, pressing for explanation, walking dead flowers
from one room to another, remembering when I still believed I had the power to fly?


Prompts: Poetic Asides (take off), NaPoWriMo (long lines — which I know before even hitting “publish” will not display well here), and Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Sen No Rikyu’s poems about tea).


Where the Water Is Now Gone

This is where we did our exercises
before we died anyway.
To live better, we did them daily,
some of us in gray sweatsuits,
some of us in middy blouses
if it was long enough ago
and we were female
(as some of us were).
We played tennis or we rowed
in covered gymnasiums,
or we swam in natatoriums
where the water is now
gone, even the place for it
bricked over, filled in.
We can’t imagine it, our water
gone. But we know this is so,
as well as the things we lifted,
the steps we ran, our efforts,
our breaths, numbered after all.


Prompt: Poetic Asides (exercise).