100% Survival Rate

Nobody suspects they’re the ones
who won’t survive;
elders on heart medicine or
kids who’ve never grown potato –
what does it mean to survive
if nobody we know is going to die?


What world do they anticipate,
what drive to survive will remain
when they are rousted, mid-dream,
to discover a world
where a survivor must truly,
truly, be alone.

How Far Their Reach

Something strange on the wind
new colors on new shapes
crouched low and silent,
all unknown things
are deadly things –
how far away is safe?
will it gesture, and
with a terrible yollop
strike us deaf and dead
at fifty meters?
or is it placid, patient,
killing only by accident
or convenience,
a living snare
waiting for any
clumsy footfall?

Beautiful Flower

The beautiful flower
in your mind
– leaves reaching as malformed hands –
is not the one
I’m thinking of.

And every detail
– stamen like held cigars –
divorces them
– petals like stained fingernails –
a little further.

ghosts

it must be something, moving,
some living memory –
do all forgotten things
slumber low and long,
dreaming of being remembered
until – a picture shifting in the hall,
thuds in the wall,
silverware sliding,
a figure gliding –
and they are remembered once more.

I Don’t Know

I don’t remember the sunrise
or the name of those blue-black birds,
I don’t remember you
or me,
or what road we just passed
or where it goes –
I don’t know if I’ve been down it,
maybe,
maybe not,
there’s a certain innocence in forgetting –
when the justified man with the slick-chrome
pistol presses it snug to my head
I won’t know why,
I won’t know why,
blameless me,
the victim at last.

God As a Counterfeiter

Phosphates, sugars,
nitrogen and carbon,
what did He crib life from?
What just-as-good steps
results in a product
that fool our eyes
but not our hearts?
And we,
– who are born
with such counterfeits –
would we recognize
a true life
if we saw it?