To His New Wife

I know far better than to ever say never.
Too, this kind of love will never not be hard.
It’s the bottle of costly oil, missing one shard
from its threaded glass rim, I passed my finger over
again last night, opening a freshly blood-filled rift.
Or the bird I saw of late, perched on the sill,
face turned towards the house, ominously still,
and waited for it to shake loose its wings, lift
clear, and fly off free – which it will never do.
Indeed, I found it later lying on its side, one eye
already hollowed out by ants. I’ve learned to say goodbye
to whatever won’t come back, was never true.
I will answer any question you want to ask. That door
stands always just a bit ajar. In spite of what he might
have told you, my mind is sound. I would not lie.
He would. But you must satisfy yourself on that score.
I wish you and your husband abundant joy, if ever
such a thing can come to pass. I think it can’t. And oh, the boy.
Your tiny boy. I don’t know how this world works, why
he came instead when, in truth, our man desired a girl –
someone who’d gaze and fawn and yearn, a pet to spoil.
Perhaps he’s finally found what he sought in you.
And yet, your sudden frantic message out of the blue
six months ago suggests you now know something of my toil.
Well. I leave you here. Your face is fair, you have some
letters after your name. Your way lies open, however it seems.
I hope you’re crisp, sharp, free from groggy dreams.
I wish you a wise serpent to destroy your rotten Eden.


At some point I walked outside. It felt cool.
The moon’s curved spine was broken
on the ridge. A kind of giving up.
I watched the cup sink, till its rims
were two hooked horns, turned nearly in
on themselves, poised to gore. They too
disappeared. The night was dark without its glow,
however dim. Soon the stars came forth.
They’d always been there. And now
I could discern the needle-point of each.

Cat’s Cradle

first it’s a bra, then a boot
then a ladder

then a broom
then a hat or a beak

then a pool

this finger loom
on which I weave

divine my future
double and twist

a length of cheap jute
till it turns to a Moebius loop

unspools to form
an odd-shaped fruit

some new celestial body
whose portent’s unknown

Lime Blossom

Into the coconut curry soup we made last winter –
its broth the same warm orange color
as the globed pendant lamp that glowed over
the kitchen table – we sprinkled fragrant kaffir
lime leaves plucked that day from the market’s freezer,
their summer perfume frozen forever
glossy green. Time blooms unseen, covert,
in odd directions. As the mother of our doctor
acquaintance, who would walk down each after-
noon to the 92nd Street Y, where on the rower
machine, she’d read three miles’ worth
of Proust. How far she she traveled, and where
I don’t know: the old pages’ sweet, familiar odor
lifting, the pink cheek gone suddenly young, aflower.

An Agent of Serendipity

When I wrecked my car in the spring, I spent a week driving a rental SUV from Enterprise. At the end of the week, I cleaned it out and returned it, and when I got home remembered that I had left a CD in the player. The next day, news broke that Chris Cornell had died, and it hit me: the CD I left was the soundtrack from Singles. It’s entirely possible that the next person who rented that car could have turned on the radio and heard Cornell’s voice pouring from the speakers, singing . Little would they know that there was a mundane reason for this wild coincidence, and that I had been an unwitting agent of serendipity. Maybe it would be better for them to ascribe it to fate.