a black sky downpour
spun me to the entryway
of a jewelry shop;
in the wet vestibule I
met the gaze of a soaked dove


deep clouds beheaded
the dark skyscrapers, left them
standing like mute stumps.
behold the foggy ax blade:
atmospheric slight-of-hand


warm rains cracked and dashed
the salty ice, erasing
winter from the earth
I stood in a numb fuzz, a
buzzing state of novocaine


we witchy women
gather over plates of eggs
and exchange hexes
passing vials of blessed oils:
love potions, evil eye wards


wings fill the thorn bush
spry sparrows chatter and hop
fluff their dingy coats
I throw them bread crumbs, watch them
sink up to their knees in snow


a moonlit snowfall
dusky sky smouldering above
these soft velvet hills
the air hangs still and muted
between the far shore and here


plates of ice float in
the steaming Allegheny
like mute coal barges;
their water weeps to mingle
with the wide knotted rivers


to still my shiver
I imagine my body
a column of ice:
a dark hollow heart frozen
in a web of cracked crystal


a day to keep warm
from the biting chill outside
stir rice and beans and
sit by the radiator
with a thick book in your lap


we fill her pockets
as we cut through the side streets
eyes pinned to the curb
buttons, fake flowers, torn books
souvenirs of the city


this endless city
tunneled under and over
and crawling with souls
I walk a dark street, head down
in the howling bitter wind


the bear swings his jaws
teeth ferrying a thick pane
of dripping pond ice;
fifteen harvest mice huddle
in the eye of a needle


half-remembered streets
dioramas, gemstones, bones
and polish delis
we celebrate my birthday
with a bodega cupcake


candy-colored dice
tea and reams of graph paper
herald adventure;
I slice skeletons in half
and stroke the cat in my lap


our names now adorn
an inch of mumbo jumbo
and a hilltop home.
we celebrate with hoagies
and a street corner liplock


we cut a swift path
through the tail end of traffic
fleeing the city;
ensconced in tacky stucco
birthday girls eat their pasta


the day struck me mute
to wake from strange dreams to face
chaos null and void
I slouch in a bus seat, press
my forehead against the glass


our feet eat the miles
avenues and alleyways
bridges and steep hills
we rest our legs and drink pops
before the long walk back home


In the too-warm air
I cross the bridge with bags full
of sprouts and bean curd;
later on we fold wontons
over cups of rooibos tea


this strange humid air
raises fog from cement lots
and dew in our hair
thick clouds escape the smoke stacks
and drift sideways, pinned to earth


speech, miasma, fire
destruction spreads like disease
as my clenched brow boils
I awake in a dark room
pinned by the weight of blankets


black cloud horizon
reveals a shock of pink light;
buildings rise up and
recede behind each other
like philip glass violins


my feet dig trenches
on this patch of cold concrete
i visit daily
I've stood a hundred days here
without speaking, my mind blank


dark weeks of evenings
leaving in darkness like bats
today the air changes
I stand between skyscrapers
and crane my neck. daylight. there.


careful concoction
star anise, cinnamon stick
onion, clove, garlic
we slurp rice noodles and sip
the broth, the burn of chili


we lunch like old folks
soup and sandwiches shared
at the stroke of noon
our house fills with loving scents
frying onions and warm skin


eight hundred million
the number of crows swooping 
from the north hilltops
like black snowfall, they cover
the bald face of the mountain


pushed against a wall
the handcuffed man cranes his neck
eyes searching the crowd
we walk by like we can't see
bound by the code of shared streets


we return to work
wrapped in scarves and sniffling
coughing in crosswalks
smiling across the bus aisle
at neighbors and strangers both


cold morning after
darkened storefronts, empty stoops
the streets are empty
party hats and wet streamers
stomped into the slushy snow