Intense winter night sky.
Cold water sits in the gutter, unaffected.
The alley possum makes his nightly appearance,
scaling the chain-link.
Streetlights reflect from the backs of his eyes
toward the porch.
I smoke and feel feelings against my will.
Night bares down across the city, hitting
those of us foolish enough to look at it
but not past it.
You can’t kissy kiss a possum to your feet,
Or even bait it with a piece of trash.
They know better,
and for a moment, you do too.
You promised to teach me, and you did,
How to give and take weight, how to lean
Into the steep, or sit back at the decline.
How to hold the reins so as to show trust,
And ask by squeezing the thighs.
How to repeat –harder.
How to deal with skittishness, and let control.
How to fall correctly. How to notice
The signs of things just before they happen.
How to convince yourself otherwise.
What must be done when it goes lame.
How to say it’s not sound but it’s something
We can work with. How to hold your head
When the words are said. How to know
How much you can take. How to break.
Words I Wish We Didn't Have
Oblivion is the first.
As if it were a place we could get to.
As if we could leave ourselves
gone, to be looked back on
like a shed cicada –another word
that’s crawled into every book
on the shelf, applauding over itself,
clogging thought quicker than
an audible moist, which we all agree
should be banned. Are you discussing
dessert or your hand? No one wants to know.
And yolk sounds like you’re choking
while eating one. It’s the consistency–
like curdled, pouring reluctantly
out of the mouth the same way it does
a jug. For god’s sake, let someone else
do the talking, or beat a goose to death.