Selected Poems

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SNORING
 
 
I am annoyed by the sound of people snoring
For the same reason I am annoyed
By a room full of musicians:
A bunch of people finding peace
Without me.
COME IF YOU'RE COMING

I want to be asleep when she gets here,

So that she can wake me up.


I can never resist rising
To the sound of her coming into bed,

After she brushes off her clothes

Into a pool at her feet,
And slips off her shoes,
Like she is stepping from the river

Onto a dry towel.

Before she wakes me,

I hear her in my dreams,

The creak of the wooden staircase,
The flick of the padlock,
Her bike coming over the cracks in the sidewalk.

And even earlier she is in her own room,
Checking that she has everything for work tomorrow, Showering where there is better shampoo,
And moving closer to the last page.

But from my dreams
I should not rush her along.

She has a couple things to do

And knows as well as me,
That as soon as she comes over

And crawls into bed,

I will wrap my arms around her like a warm towel

And there will be time for nothing
Beyond the slow whispers of goodnight. 

CALL HOME

I hope it becomes habit
At some point in the coming years
To call my sisters

 

With nothing more than simple questions,
Asking how they are doing
And if anyone changed the Netflix password.

I wonder when we’ll get to the point

Where I move from asking about their days

And maybe about their families
To asking about Dad
Or Mom
And the latest from the doctor.

Strange numbers of my friends

Are already at that point:

Playing nurse, planning appointments,

Losing parents.

My dad no longer had living parents

By the time he was 50
And I thought that was sad,
Back then,

Before you lost yours.

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TWO USEFUL HANDS

This morning I was singing. 

By afternoon I was lost. 

 

I walked down the street 

Wanting to ask a stranger—

Do you feel consistently you?

 

I feel consistently me

Only in the sense 

That I am growing happier and sadder

With every given day.

 

I feel consistently me 

Only in the sense that being 

Consistently me

Means that I can be heartbroken

Unemployed

And still find reason

For a walk in the sun.

 

Being consistently me

Means being frustrated with family

Who say, 

You seem to be improving.

 

I say thank you,

But I am not improving. 

 

I was never broken. 

I was never whole.

 

I was born with two hands.

One for joy, one for sorrow—

Both equally divine,

And kind of silly-looking 

Without the other.

A GIRL AND HER FLOWERS

On our way to the train station

To break up and say goodbye

We passed a family of four:

Three kids and their father.

The kids were strung along behind him
On some invisible rope,
The end of which tugged on the youngest girl

And her bobbing bouquet of flowers.

The light turned green
And we drove past,
Quietly imagining the future family

We could make together

Just as I heard the girl cry out in tears

Having fallen, scraped her knee,

Tipped over by the weight

Of one too many roses.

DYING SUMMER

You’ll know it’s that time of year

The dying weeks of summer
If you’ve still the sense
That the last weeks of summer

Are right up there with dying.

I would imagine my last moments
To be just as impending, just as riveting,

Just as peaceful and perpetual,
If I were to design them.

The pool is quiet and getting cold.

The hours at the farmers market change

And apple prices go down.

The longest days slip away,
Their racket fading slowly downstream

And a more decisive nighttime
Returns gradually

To join the sunset.

Everything is one last time.

The final river
The last green leaf
Your goodbye bikini

And the first star tonight.

We come together in a circle

Humming, not chanting,
All scars are from summer,

This last one more than ever.

And I know I’m not the only one hoping!

Hoping to die in late August. 

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