Poem Trumps Hate

The Moment I Knew I Had To Leave New York, That My Soul Depended on It

The butter yellow butterfly flew toward me.

I couldn’t even recognize it.4834daba0fb4b8a8e45a4214a1db8144


How is this for an arrangement?

(I know how you love arrangements.)

Every time you ask me when he’s going to ask,

I’ll ask you about the time you said yes too early,

As if it were the balm to every insecurity,

The answer to all your girlish prayers.

I’ll ask you to detail the years

You went to bed,

Tears veiled on your cheek.

I will ask you:

Does it matter what I’m generating, or that I am? Really. Wedding Fashion 1930s-40s (6)





Nothing is brittle between us, as far as I’m concerned. Do you feel the same?

Do you feel, too, that the only side effect of our simple-growing friendship is a lack of memories, both the better and the worse?

We are either here nor there. Right?

If I am very lucky,

If all of us are lucky,

All three of you will carry my bones.

But it will be your shoulder on which I ride into the ground,

That lowers me steady into the earth.



We will always try to gather

One another’s shadows.




I carry your straight lines

Gifted and grafted

On the slick of my skin,

Raised white, thin,

Stick straight just like your legs,

Relics from a time when

As children

We would speak at night

Through the gap

In our father-made bunks,

Our voices splinting

Off the stained-dark wood,

Whispering about: what?



The waterbugs leaped

Like little sisters around our

Green-swirling hands,

Doppelgängers, double-goers,

Nothing to hold our ankles

But the numbing water,

Nothing to pry our fingers.


Eulogy for a Defibrillator

There were two types of safety to her,

Both existential. The second had to do

Not with my body, but with my soul.

She let me live to write novels and poems.

But it was her who wrote the heartbeats,

That metal scrivener in my center

With her platinum pen, the truest record

Of who I am laid out in wiring handwriting,

Sealed with a laser lid. It was important.

They wouldn’t let me keep the little box.

Treasure chest and monster chest of

A decade of my life, of my living.


Heart Surgery

It is a little bit like a birth.

But one where they’ll take one child out

To put his brother in.

Under my breast, it sits,

Gently growing into my skin.

Recording. Knowing me.

What will you be, I wonder.

And what will we go through together?

We are we, now.

And I see how you can save me,

I say to it.

I know that you could kill me, too.



It’s a May afternoon as flat as a page,

As dry as a canvas before paint.

The fabric of the day is pencil-dry.

I’m off to the tailor down the street,

Taking a navy bridesmaid’s dress in.

Thinking, oh, there are birds.

Thinking oh, it’s a sky. It’s a tree.

There, a woman beating a heavy rug

Against an iron fence that

Protects, apparently, a garden of rocks:

How very New York.

I make up a back story:

This being Astoria,

This being a rug being beaten, she can’t be

Anything but Greek, or Polish perhaps.

She doesn’t know

About the scar on my chest.

In her cloud of dirt,

She waits for me to pass.

Later in the Ukrainian laundry,

I’m being pinned.

Guess who walks in?

“That’s a beautiful dress,” she says.

In the accent of Queens,

I learn her name.

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