Fog fell like fabric from the top shelf,

remainders of fleece and gabardine

fitted for the ground and buildings.


The late night’s darkness cracked,

a gray and white batik, so nothing

could be seen beyond the middle of the street.


Under the sheets, streetlights ghosted

the avenues, railings shaved off at the top step,

where all passed into primordial memory,


a prenatal comfort so dense even mother

couldn’t fabricate its warmth and promise:

this could be anywhere and I could be anyone.



Minor Influences



I’d like to write my name in invisible ink

all over New York City, so if a truck

carrying lemon juice crashed,

my name would illuminate the scene

with a secret meaning, though not the name

you say into the steam of your morning coffee

but the one the nurse whispered in my ear

the morning I was born and never spoke again.


I’d like to train a seagull to follow me,

gorge on the waste jettisoned by living,

lighten the load and let the prow of the ship

bob and slice the waves it plows

trailing a clean wake for those who follow.


I’d like to gather the light

pooled in every drop of spindrift,

like the juice of ripe fruits, a bright

tumbling bowl of it set out on a table,

an offering of warmth, a welcome

that will one day reach your sky,

blaze an invitation to drink its gravity in,

align the minor orbits of your blood

and every random comet, to the song

solar winds make as they blow through your hair.


Border Crossings



Our neighbor stretched over the fence

to snatch an apple from our tree.


A stray cat stalked a squirrel,

his tail hair combing the brick

as he passed the mulch bed.


The astilbe flowered under the wings

of a monarch, just as he hovered,

sniffing nectar from nearby blossoms.


The invasions are constant and

arrive cloaked in the shuffling leaves

or aching wood, the loose gate

grating its hinges in a draft.


There was a tap at the window,

but no one there.  Others came

to the door but never knocked.


When they left, there was a sense

that something was forgotten,

like a memory from childhood


. . . a knowledge of a way back

. . . a country where all strangers are welcome.