through his small body,
my milk-stained robe -

our ribs meet and
I feel the gurgle
of his lungs like my own


magnolia petals

done hoisting our
winter-sick hearts

now rot to rust:
blessings spent


running past a dozen happy hours
my feet hit each cellar door 
                      bang bang 

the give of steel, the expected 
jolt and clatter an act of joy


he stops mid-chew
and starts to laugh -
at what, I can only guess

his mind, a new expanse
large enough to stand inside


arrived early to brunch,
we make small talk
like strangers

coffee pools in our saucers
no matter how careful


freeze the cobra
trace its undulation -

the spines of bare trees
rise from the hillside


the barberry bush 
spits thorns and sulks.
I prune her too roughly -
unwanted old aunt
that came with the house


where the houses
slid down the hill,
forsythia blooms wild -

sprays in the rubble,
yellow as poison


the city gardens sing yellow
with acres of tiny daffodils;
on the elevator a pack
of knee-high boys tussle -
towheaded, spring fevered


digging up the weeds 
of early spring,
my hands sieve the old neighborhood -

bent nails and 
wedges of iridescent pink glass


inevitable betrayal -
when the slim
of girlhood
finally snaps


in the linoleum basement
we eat crockpot-warm pierogi
sunk in butter, neon yellow -
upstairs saints sit in their
cerulean thrones, unseen


on the grey river trail
joggers hang found gloves
from low branches
like the rain-soaked kills
of a cat, laid out with love


alone in the crook
of a used bookshop,
stripped down to brain 
and eyeballs -
the vigilance of ghosts


knees dark
with cold mud,
I tear at the lily roots -

tangled bolus
of white snakes


motherhood taught me
to savor a good crossword:
smooth mirror symmetry
made complete
in a life ever unfinished


the ides of march
and street trees
hide their daggers
in clouds of
pink blossoms


my pale bride bones
melt into sinew - 
some old witch,
sleeping in your sunlit bedroom,
tongue furred with black spells


nightfall and the robin
on the roof is chiding the world;
he scolds the pebbles and flies,
spring winds, mud,
the lip of sky that dares to steep black-blue


sunglasses and the thump
of bass in the parking lot;
too sunny for March,
too hungover
to act my age


dig your nails
into the softening dirt
glove your hands
in warm silt


holding tight my son's tiny hand
I elucidate on the noises of trucks,
the danger of nudging a toy through
the sewer grate, things in the world that
are circles - like my fingers around his wrist


step into my home, dim
in the sunken afternoon light
but suddenly buoyant,
rife with the violet-blue scent 
of rooms swept with spring air


The romance of the lunch plate:
filigree of sliced tomatoes,
grilled cheese lacy with burned fat,
buttersoft beets cubed and piled
like a trove of rough garnets.


awake two hours before sunrise,
I sit on the moth-chewed couch
to watch him at the hard work of play;
his eager gait, like a dog straining
towards that green moment of leashlessness


air torn by the 
thick-tongued chord
of passing trains,
their centipede sulk
into soot-inked holes


I gave birth squatting
in the ochre, staring at the
sun, pebbles, crystal grit
now I hide my son in blue dusk
behind a fence of bared teeth


a room awash in spirits, warm hands
refolding stringy thrift-store sweaters,
the lines forming along our eyes but
oh the stories we slipped into our wine
oh we flat-footed hilltop women


carry buckets of stone-smelling water

fetch the horses from their wooded wander
and brush their legs clean of ticks

mend the fence where it cracked in the night
and lay shattered two half-frozen weeks


the unvoiced morning 
between coffee and skyspit snow;

later on the baby cried so loud
the iron radiator resonated,
startled him with its ringing


for a month I've rode 
this bed like a boxcar
flat back hobo healing
ready to jump ship
purple scars flying