Self-Portrait in Euphemisms
Isn’t she pretty. A thin film
of moonlight on a stag’s antlers.
No. Sleep depletes memory
and should therefore be welcomed.
Also no. A permanent realization
of everyone else’s medical bills.
She drapes a veil over the altars.
The opposite shore. La Santa
Muerte at the ceramic typewriter
with a toothy grimace. No one
minds migrational patterns.
Blue jays arrive too early and freeze.
April deeply confused. Sun and sleet
equally disconcerting. Isn’t she funny.
In earnest she steps uncertainly,
excuses to not emerge readily
available. And isn’t the blank sky
the same as surface-deep sleep.
And hasn’t the tea gone cold while
she waited. And hasn’t she become
an expert by now. Of course not.
Variations on an Absentee Figure


Wolves exist; you don’t. There are certain kinds of owls
that know better. Once you ran alongside a coyote in
the woods: neither of you were wolves. I am sorry that you
are not one. Though they do exist. As do owls. But you don’t.
As simple as the night clock is simple. One moon exists
wherever you decide to be, everywhere else wolves yelp.
Simple, like the night woods are. Only barn owls know
the difference between howl and yelp.
Once you ran alongside a coyote in the woods. You felt
alive: for a moment you were real. Once, you burned all
your books and letters, drew runes on your palms. Once
there was a possibility you actually existed.
Aging exists; distance exists. Tree spirits are more real
than you. Even mountain spirits exist. Once you asked if
I knew the difference between a snow owl and a barn owl.
I said one is older than the other, and can fly farther away.
Days exist; years exist, but you do not. I am sorry but you
are neither kind of owl. As simple as the lift off, then the breadth
of wing, then the soar, then the landing. Patience is real. Flight
exists. You know nothing of the night clock. I am sorry.
Unfettered Leewardings
There are only so many sea dragons
     to be hatched anymore, the smallest
curls floating upward, scattering, unlatching
     from an umbrella of underbelly beads
loosed from a broken necklace;
    only so many will discover
where the warm patch is, where the kelp stirs
     but offers no plan for proceeding;
only an intuitive few will realize
    they must unfurl their new-found
fins before any other, and only one, only
    one will see a particular show of sea-wings
and know only that pair alone will do,
     will succeed, will close the cycle.