The phone rings a silent coil around
the kitchen; the houseplants drink Coca-Cola
and rum. Some day soon your lover will leave
is already a dust mote dancing in the sunbeam
through your window. Carl Sagan writes from
the after-universe a love letter to the abyss and
attaches a minuet bouquet with an I’m sorry note.
How to apologize to whom we love when we are living–
rain sobs off the gutter, shrieks down city drains.
She doesn’t trust you anymore, and you didn’t come
back last night to feed your dog who cried alone in
the darkness of your home, but still he wagged his tail
in the presence of your uncertain return.
(originally published in Columbia Journal Online, Winter 2018)
I do not perceive you as obsessed with death
even if, days before, our jovial talks of dying
led to sugar-frosted blue wondering at the sky.
We planned to pop champagne for the birth
of feeling alive: winter hardens soil so we must dig
to the laughter we share in our spines.
We did not drink white wine, but the beer was breath
without knowing the scent– like any year,
we were paintings of light and dark, of limb
and bone so disordered to stand is a triumph,
and hope is a kaleidoscope, a conjecture.
Each dying wave returns, even at the frayed edge
of memory, how the dead are lavish with flowers
and stories. Still, we press on to uncork
our champagne future: drafts of breath in each
new year, dead waves haunting the mortal tide
with no specific beginning, no obvious end.
(originally published in Liquid Imagination, Summer 2016)