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. . . .
“You dork!” my sister shouted the day I called to tell her
I thought I might be pregnant. “Haven’t you checked
yet? Go to the pharmacy and call me back! Sheesh.”
1. FOLK ACOUSTICS
When we were in elementary school, . . . Read more
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.
How young were my boys when I moved them to a town, . . . Read more
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, . . .
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, . . . Read more
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, . . .
She stood at the window and watched me.
How long she had waited for me to wake up
I dared not ask, nor could she have answered,
her jaws woven shut by the undertaker’s twine,
a trade she knew well, having taught herself
black work by night in the attic, . . .
Jack, today I played fast-and-loose with a bottle
of Prosecco and a coconut cake, and now,
an hour later, I’ve got my knees tucked to my chest
because it feels like someone’s mistaken my head
for an oyster and is shucking away, . . .
He was always the smallest, in any room, “an Atom of a man” somebody said (the word existed then, although not in our later sense); but spunky, quick to rise to a righteous indignation and to support it with a whirligig of fists.
“Terrier courage,” one of his schoolfellows called it. . . . Read more
My garrulous neighbor, Walter—a red-nosed U.S. Army Major (retired)—gives me books, volumes that he snatches up at the occasional library inventory purges at the University of Idaho, where I teach. Some are good, others not as good. Some I park on my bookshelves, others I recycle or use as doorstops. . . . Read more