Features

Fault Line

I drag myself from bed with a magazine of white smiles clamped beneath my elbow, and I’m almost alive in the ruined hallway. Mold dots the floorboards; the ceiling’s splotched gray from water leakage—It’s old markings, our landlord said, Call me if the spots spread. . . .

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Of Yalta

Sure, it’s all Chekhov this and Chekhov that,

and I am far from the only one 

to keep myself up at night

thinking about his gun, 

 

but the man was a dreamboat,

gray eyes and smirking beard

and lips—those lips. . . .

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The Night Street

for Herb Creecy

 

Ten years ago I drove down to Barnesville

to see my friend, the artist Herb Creecy,

who was dying of pancreatic cancer.

He chose this way to end up: No hospital. . . .

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Story

What matters most is private and vast and can’t be seen 

on the brain scan, though it may burn orange or blue 

 

or a toasty gold in the amygdala, 

a magnolia-green in the cingulum, the cinnamon 

 

or burnt wine of an old tin roof all through the fornix.  . . .

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The One I Get and Other Artifacts

                                   Oil has seeped into
the margins of the ditch of standing water

and flashes or looks upward brokenly,
like bits of mirror—no, more blue than that:

like tatters of the Morpho butterfly.

—Elizabeth Bishop

 

How young were my boys when I moved them to a town, . . .

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Stillness, Waiting

If the trout died it would not be

as motionless as it is now,

in a current a man cannot 

stand in and under which looser

stones go tumbling from their sockets.

Across its back it seems sunlight

is what’s swimming, . . .

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Lands of Lost Borders

Tibetan Plateau

My obsession with borders was born all at once in three different countries, depending on who you ask. I was in my early twenties, biking with a friend across the parched soda plains of the Askai Chin. For weeks we traversed this high-altitude wilderness, a land spread wide as wings, . . .

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L  Is for Leaves

Not to worry. Each morning 

after you kiss my cheek 

and lock the door behind you, 

leaving me alone with my body 

and this house to walk it around in, 

I’ve plenty to do. Monitoring

the meat defrosting on the counter,  . . .

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