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In the palm of my hand,
I hold 521 million years.
Though it looks like something
right out of Alien, this life
form doesn’t scare me.
In the absence of answers,
it comforts me—its thick cephalon,
rigid carapace, limbed thorax.
Hard yet fragile, breakable still.

Like my once-held belief
of a 6,000-year-old Earth.

A Notebook Lost Near Tuscarora

Out where they scuttled the tracks
of the Erie Railroad
at Keshequa Creek crossing,
you’ll find the county mapped
with roads named for backsliders
and saints, for one archangel,
and a lone Redemption Street —
its lawns littered with toys,
locks changed or missing,
and a woman of indeterminate age
who will always tell you
with the toss of a glance,
Meet me elsewhere, her eyes ocean-blue,
even in the dark.

Near Hunts Point

Tangent to constellations
now surfacing in the dusk
there’s a square of mottled light
from a gateshack
along the Bronx River,
a candle lit by a widow,
and the runaway girl,
missing all these summers,
searching with a lighter
for an unlocked door down a road
that leads away from the city.

A Ski Hill

Offseason at Mount Brighton, smooth jazz
Stylings of the Rod Piper Quartet. Chairs stalled
cruciform along the funicular on the hill
that mulls over seasons with silence
followed by contrapuntal clangs
and roars and clamors coming to life
in the dead season of snow makers and
swift downhill plummets.
The ride cymbal plashes through the measure
with a scrutable aptitude that leaves us
sad and listless; there’s a listlessness
to skiing when one has a love for it
as there is to this jazz; listless rigor and
unfounded belief in art’s transcendence;
balance, quad strength, I can’t explain
it but I believe it when it’s enacted
on a blistering high-gradient run.
A guy in chinos, an Izod windbreaker,
and a Titleist hat is saying “Montana
is the place to live for longevity.
There’s not much traffic there.”
Sheriffs and private security patrol
the hill, place of stacked bulldozed earth,
manufactured snow, indelible fertilizer
scent, the skull. The genre gorges on vapor
cooled to white morsels, packs it down.
Little figures hew to the ridge, and I wonder
what they’re listening to up there.


Scentless lotions on cellulite thighs—
inherited habit. Customed other mothers and
learned movie motions don’t smell,
like him, becoming sterile, sweaty,
and writhing; his fume’s religious.
Pickled mementos stored on a hinge,
clutching a fistful of her when and why. He
could not bear to keep the list.
To clean:
The old frames,
imposing oak desks,
and then, cracks, nooks, and crannies.
There’s no unwilling
the impulse to neutralize.
Somewhere, between blank taste
and sudsy fingernails, he’s
shadowed, pursuing with the last light
a circular rubbing so fervent; bleaching
On On and On

World Trade the Past for a Nickel

September 13, 2021, 9/11 Memorial and Oculus Transportation Hub, NY, NY
Oculus, show me what I seek.
For me it was never about the heights
Real New Yorkers(™) seldom look up
I was too young to be anything but real
not even myself, who looks up now.
But tunnels are an endless maze
in recollection, books, wasabi, vampires,
a pinky nail long enough to give the lie.
Winter and spring, it was the garden of my teenaged…
aged, if youth is a country lost
you can still visit the cavity, probe the hole and hope
you find more wisdom than stitches.