my advice:
brew tea, crush herbs,
circulate your bloodlike water,
unclench, unsew, allow
to breathe your tender organs


I turn to the throaty tongue
of the deaf woman
and see her husband
mouth his reply
unvoiced, secret


nightshirt, pills, notepads.
four cans of cucumber seltzer.
a fat book of crossword puzzles.
if you can buy good juju
stuff my bag with gleaming amulets.


the unknown is a broken 
tooth and fear the magnet 
that keeps your dumb 
tongue sweeping
over the empty socket


I run in the blue-black night
because I am scared, because my fears
are scrawny winter rabbits; I run,
a good dog, until I can no longer,
then sleep dreamless by the fire.


every time I wash his hands
he points out three peas
wheeling in the sink strainer;
during nap I fish them out
like wrinkled pearls


cabbage-headed peonies
clench teeth in the rain
but unfold their arms
under the tender feet
of soft-hearted ants


this dim weight
lead-bellied, herbicidal
lockjawed with rust:
the wash of my blood
unchained panacea


my body hums
with dysfunction
streetcar ligaments
buzzing with pain
ne pas toucher le third rail


ice floes course
the night river;
drops of milk
on a plate of ink


he speaks like it's mundane
to misremember the color
your childhood home,
to forget which forked road
took you there


first the tremendous 
dreadful humming of bees -
then an odd rattle 
like a fist 
pounding on a space capsule


this ice cell morning,
a whistle from the east -
this oil spill nightfall,
my thoughts emerge in puffs
of steam, my teeth shake


she is not death, but knows death:
one hand reaching through your pit of fire,
the other fanned backward like a palm leaf,
green snakes ribboned
through her swamp forest hair


the grey pane of water
under the overcast expanse
and between
the city like a glass transom
cranked open, dripping with steam


fingertip of snow
pressed against the fence,
cement glinting with salt,
and the wet black seam
where they are sewn together


ring of fecund women
pouring their warm, thick love -
under my coat
my hollow body clangs
like the tongue of a bell


wet wool smell of thawed dirt
and warming breezes-
my childish heart spelunks
into every ice pool,
slush-ringed, quartz-clear


no longer a baby, he fits a chair
brow studious over blocks; below
his feet dangle
like two small sparrows
frozen mid-plummet


we ran a merry dotted line
of footprints from fence to fence;
while he sleeps
the air goes opaque,
erases the morning's swift course


the day bowie died
we talked about the pretenders,
how to sneer
and yelp
with a baby on your hip


my oyster child
paint over this vexing grit
with salt water wash,
smooth it with the nacre
borne of my love


coffee-soaked morning
happy houseplants and me
humming dire straits in a pile
of sweaters, thrift store sweet
with patchouli and sunshine


children plop like mushrooms
in motherly laps, soft and milky;
my son arcs through the room
like a silver wire -
stray voltage, strange orbit


seven brick sisters
hug the hillside
black lacquer porches
entwined like
ringless fingers


i have always known
these sugartooth houses

the scent of skin that
around the front door


vein of silt, obscene
washed from the white stalk;
pale moons of celery 
to pile on your plate, pound
to threads between your tiny teeth


maman is out, so stay mon cher
drink rum under cock feather crown
and laugh, cigars and bay leaves
I dug your grave so forgive my touch;
poor mouth packed tight with cemetery mud


gray of slate, tongue of silver
a pile of grey sticks in morning fog
crust of rime, sheet-metal morning
and the momentary shock:
blue sliver of eggshell in dead grass clasp


matchsticks and thread
beget bone-marrow miracles
in a mile of gold foil,
the shaky latin of nuns
gone brown with age


scrape the pot clean,
fill your mouth with coins
and weedy greens -
bitter alchemy of