Books

Before you died,
you told me
that these shelves

would look better filled
with books. This little house
has since become

a home,
rooms overflowing
with the footprints

of my children
and the voices
of friends. Our lives,

a stacking
of sweet and tattered
imperfections,

resemble now
these beautiful
bursting shelves,

now dusty, and topped
with your alabaster urn,
silver in the moonlight.

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City. Night.

Electric nightlights
ripple concrete rainwater
and a man lies tight

to the wall,
all huddle and tatter
and ankle crossed

sneakers protruding
from shrouds.  Ride up
into nighttime lifetimes,

past yourself
walking arm and arm
beneath the wistful

magnolia. They say
the streets of San Francisco
hold more lives

because of these hills,
even your tonight
body conducted

along forgotten wires,
and though you cannot
see the black water

that surrounds you,
you recognize
the days washing out

under the red bridge,
each weary breath,
each eager step

as you climb
higher and higher
into the city night.

Where in Time

Pay no mind
if you cannot remember
that it is Tuesday
or that the sun is in the sky
(not the moon),
or that your cell phone
is still, is still inside
your pocket, instead
remember
the purple Jacaranda
tree in full violet bloom
and cotton candy flowers,
remember the custard
and how you love to lick
out the insides
like a small boy
on a concrete stoop
in Brooklyn – chocolate
melting down his chin
and resembling now
the wild beard
that catches pastry crumbs
behind a sterile curtain
on the seventh floor.