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New Poems

The Rejection


Not her peach-skin cheeks or fawn inflection

or stork-throat-loaded breasts or beech-tree thighs,

but the slightest shift of her sundown eyes

was better evidence of the perfection

his wife embodied since the inception

of this experiment so large in size

and scope. So when he saw her turn and rise

to stroke that serpent’s coil, that rejection

cut him quick through the chest. Her honey hands

(reeking of fruit) didn’t reach for him but

wiped her chin then pointed the way out. Why?

What was her sparrow hurry to seize lands

he couldn’t rule, mule-dirt rife with uncut

wood, infant-racket, sun-glare, angry sky?




Semiotics for My Father


What grief to learn

what I call stars

are suns on other planets,

that their names depend

wholly on proximity.

Like the woman I call mother

my father calls your mother.

Your meaning me.

Me being that great distance.




Thirteen Facts About Paul


Paul’s brother died. He was twenty-seven. Paul was thirty-three.

Paul comes to work but often leaves before noon.

If you walk in his office and he is crying

he’ll pick up the phone and start laughing, saying, “that’s too funny.”

His face will be wet as a shipwreck.

Paul knows his brother was murdered but he doesn’t know exactly how.

This keeps him awake to all hours.

The priest told Paul, “knowing, unknowing—it’s all a cloud.”

Paul thinks if there is a spirit world it’s below the earth

because he’ll suddenly feel tapping on his feet.

Under his desk, or standing at a streetlight, Paul taps back.

Paul got the elaborate tattoo on his foot

of his brother’s colors and birth date

because the foot is the most painful place to pulse in the ink.

He sat in the front window facing Bleecker Street

as the crowd gawked and the artist leaned over his bony canvas.

For hours, Paul cried to the city about his brother.













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