the thump and rattle
from the basement; lay supine
cradled glass of ice
below, the laundry creaks dry
upstairs two beds stripped faceless


in the unlit room
manila pages gather
the setting sun
faded text and cheap black ink
hold tight a world I've not seen


black sky empties
over this cut in the rock
its broken houses
cowpath streets fill with water
asphalt creekbed, hail, torn leaves


the heat clings thickly
in the darkened house, windows
seeking slim breezes
fish two olives from the jar
respite in the salty brine


I pull weeds barefoot
stacks of plantain and crabgrass
wither in the sun
I leave the buds of purslane
tender red jewels, small kindness


the empty chalet
dark wood and still sooty flues
double-wide doorways
flung to reveal sallow slopes,
parched grass baking in the sun


we move like clockwork
stirring pots, chopping spinach
pressing tortillas
a woman with three heads and
twelve arms, feeding an army


you call the sun out
to perch over my shoulder
the day of your birth
glasses of ice water melt
beside our hands, locked fingers


make the rounds, press hands
as the band comes alive in
a ping pong chorus 
I collar you at the bar
to hand you a slice of cake


lay with silent ease
legs entwined, stacked like cut wood
bellies warm and fed
from one squinted eye your smile
stretches into horizon


hold this absence
like a pulled tooth in your mouth
the gap between houses;
a blank spot on the sidewalk
still casts a shadow


how many footfalls
take us from flattened flood plain
to rocky hilltop
two-hundred cement steps and
the rattle of our pink lungs


thimble of bourbon
on the red porch, lean legs crossed
in a painted chair
night falls in the tree city
headlights and wood knots and us


flip the record, love
or put on something crazy;
let me feel the beat
a line of empty beer cans
stack of empty cardboard sleeves


storm clouds roll by, thick
tongues of moisture, wide
furrows in the sky
plants climb and volley, green shock
to the wet lawn, the grey dusk


erase my footsteps
forget my words, break my teeth
push me out breech-birth
leave me under a toadstool
tonight I curl with the worms


had that dream again
where I cannot see your face
only your thin curls
I whisper to them, how much
you are loved, how you are missed


early morning fog
shrouds this muggy monday ride
into the city
a mayfly corpse curls, thin prawn
in the well of my window


this billy goat girl
ripping vines from the side wall
with flat shoepeg teeth
she grinds stems into green cud
and turns, bleating, in the weeds


there was some trouble
on the way home; the drawn pit
the broken spirit
men are worth their golden weight
but still we catch eyes and doubt


in the darkened bar
the boys throw darts, trade mild barbs
curse the cramped bullseye
they hoist and set their wet mugs
chaining rings on the table


a bounty of leaves
folded and bound; chlorophyll
staining fingernails
wash the grit from the pale root
rip the leaves and make them bleed


cook in the kitchen
barefoot, sway your hips with a
cup of rye and ice
record spinning, hopeless drift
eight-ball avocado pits


a sunny lunch hour
in the park, book propped open
the palm's shallow crook
warm your spine on the cement
brain lurching with bitten words


a head of cabbage
hides a heart-shaped core; he boils
water, stirs the sauce
his polish bride rolls golabki
harmony in the kitchen


clusters of houses
fairy-rings of beige mushrooms
bloom in fallow fields
doors locked, shades pulled tight to blind
blank faces of behemoths


in a sunny field
wine mingles, glass is broken
under the groom's heel
the bride laughs, her chair hoisted
by a sea of loving hands


ancient rockface, wet
with spring water, braids thick woods
to the pebbled cliff
blue mountains recede behind
acres of empty ozone


spiderweb glasscracks
and the amber rush of rye
puddling below
the head-sore heat of the room
ruined bottle on the bed


my new favorite song
the sugar in my coffee
sleepy morning kiss
simple wednesday pleasures, joy
the art of proximity


I pray on the wings
of bus rides and coffee shops
street-corner glances
I pray to the god of names
to put mine in your strange mouth


majestic zero
day of anthills and tv
fridge door swung open
I melt into the couch-weave
worthless hours, humbled body