When I was in my rodent hole gnawing away at the scent of death and reading stories about the characters in apartment buildings to men with gold teeth, he pulled me away. Your last strawberry basil martini, your last shot of scotch, and your last cigarette. My family already mourned my office wear, never got used to me in tatters. The last time your head will spin on the swing at the bar telling a strange man you will accompany him all the way to Jackson Heights. He took me to the playground so we could relive our childhoods and I could tell him what went wrong. The last pair of rainbow sneakers that will grow dirty in the mud as you dance.
The strike of the bat against the ball.
It floats through the air like hope.
Her long hair carries her through
the fields like wings. Her heart
is rushed with blood. It warms
her chest. The temperature of tears.
He never waited for her.
He was fine in his mother’s house,
her knock on his bedroom door in the mornings
and spaghetti on his plate in the evenings.
He was happy to be living near Yankee
Stadium. At least he could feel the cheer
of the crowd in his body. Each voice
prickled in his chest, but then he couldn’t
tell the difference between it and his
anxiety. One day he would make it to
the major leagues. One day he would sing
“one hand in my pocket and the other
with nothing to hide.”
that she holds,
that can bleed
in the borsch
It reminded him of the feather
that she arranged in his hat.
She was always smoothing over
everyone else’s wrinkles.
Clipping the sheets on the line,
she walks through them like theater
curtains. Without realizing it,
she takes a bow, trying to avoid
the laundered cloth against her back.
My feet slip between cobblestones.
A narrow bridge suspended
over emptiness leads
to my destination. A ladder
stretches towards the top.
I look out from between the stones
at the vast land. Seemingly
endless mountains are
in the distance. My head
is at their heights. My thoughts
run over their peaks. It is all
spinning. Once I was at the show,
concentrating on the elegy. My
bag was getting heavy, so that I
couldn’t hold it anymore, threw
my coins to the floor. I walked
out and disappeared. My body
was my best kept secret.
I find the pills with the keys
at the bottom of my purse.
Now I can’t remember
the way to your apartment,
looking up at windows
for the red geranium. I once found
myself at the foot of your bed,
a puppy. I can’t find the pills.
It is in the folds. The roughness
of your skin, like the
sand dollar I found on the beach
when we were counting stars.
You convinced me I needed
to get better. I drink down the pills
with wine. I drink down the wine with
the pills. The pet store is open
in your neighborhood. The light glows
neon, the goldfish glows
in the plastic bag.
It is in lieu of flowers. I see a stranger’s
hands and imagine your acceptance.
It will go in the bowl or vase. We will tempt
it with the pills, floating at the top.
You once found me
in the hospital during visiting hours,
still in the paper gown.
Our fingers became sticky with chicken
wings on cafeteria tables. A woman asked
you for a match. You shook your head.
The pills came in little paper cups. Like me,
you are skilled at sitting in waiting rooms.
You have learned to turn the magazine pages
at just the right pace until you can enter
to get the prescription, your name in the doctor’s
like finding yourself famous.