‘a spring wind blew my list of things to do away’

you were blowing out cake candles

with your red lips;

you were too young for us to know,

too red.

it was not a photograph dad would have

displayed: it was stuck in a book in a drawer

in a year.  and now, so many thousands of

days later, i’m sitting in a car crying,

listening to the world turning, my child walking

away, the houses foreclosing.

 

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arrive alive

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always driving,
always moving,

running to meet point-less
dead-lines, absurd expectations:

rushing, rushing to our graves.

this time i happen
to be headed south,

past neon signs with casualties
counted and engraved:

657 so far this year;

past the severed alligator, under
the glassy big-brother eyes,

funneling down to the edge,
straight into the heart of

gun-shaped dread. i’ll wait until
i get there to start drinking,

numbing away all the things waiting to bite,
until the laughing takes us right into the

crying. it’s all the same out-
pouring in the mind’s eye,

tucked up on that cloud
shelf in the revolving sky;

just harder to put your finger on.

pieces of memory paste themselves
together as i maneuver in and out of states:

last words, last touches, collages of conversations
from ten, twenty years ago, from count-less lives ago—

before we knew what we were be-coming;
before we knew how it would all end.

i keep looking over at my girl sleeping safely
on the seat beside me. my eyes are wide prayers.

the bittersweet dark is settling in as we
arrive alive under the last exhale of sun;

arrive to your absence, to the stomping pulse
of grief running through your girls,

to the very same places where we
once romped and rallied for joy.

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