i found a spider on the kitchen

floor: hairy and black.


i asked it to let me see my father again.

but first i trapped it under some tupperware


(a clear container so i could keep an eye out,

watch it climbing the sides, trying to escape).


i apologized for detaining it, until a guy could

come by and set the spider free in the yard.


yes, i am afraid of the things i love.

yes, i am in love with the things i fear.


it is not above me to ask a man for help;

after all, i brought him into this world.


i dreamt of my father that night—and every

night thereafter; like before, only happier:


he was himself, mostly whole, mostly

glad to be with us again; longing to stay,


but always having to leave by the end.

mornings always bring the farewell.


i visit death so often it

has become a furry friend.





libellula: a poem from last decade comes calling

i found a dragonfly last week on the sidewalk:

yellow and black.

i only took it because it was dead; 

i only put it in a red cigar box beneath my bed,

and now i dream slip-knot dreams of water and wings, 

of dragons who defied their curse to become

queens of the insect world.


we are working ourselves inward

in a spiral of funnel mazes,

winding down to the center

where all the sediment collects;

where all the patterns intersect

more symmetrically than the human face.


‘you look so young,’ a woman tells me,

‘like you haven’t let life really touch you,

really put her hands on you.’


for the first time, this isn’t a compliment.


i tell her how at twenty-nine i just

contemplated stealing for the first time —

because i’m piss-poor,

because i can’t bring myself to ask for another loan,

and because i just got robbed —

and it seems like the next natural

step in the cycle of things.


after all, we keep repeating each other

in predetermined overlaps,

the great wheel turning and turning —

hand over hand, year over year —


as rivers get moved around, and mountains slouch,

and stars burn out, and some thing is born

out of an egg, out of a wasteland, out of a distant planet.


how did we get into this very conversation?

we are suddenly two pieces of wood rubbing together.


i try to explain that if i stop for too long,

and just think, and just breathe,

i may not be able to pick up one more day

to heave it up onto my shoulders.


a voice inside my head — i think it’s my mother’s — says:

‘why do you write so much about yourself? selfish, selfish.’


but it’s the one thing i’ve been given, mother;

it’s the one thing i think i know,

and even that comes into question at least once a day.


we move in wide angles one moment

and in narrow detours the next,

and the end result is a giant crop circle

signifying nothing but crushed grass and tired geometry.


but at least we are moving.


and at least a television can be quite useful, actually,

once un-plugged: a convex mirror, a plant stand,

something square to offset all the circles.


we lock arms and rock, back and forth, back and forth —

in the wind, in the sheddings, as our mothers push out

humanity one liquid cry at a time.


we are but one life, one chance at a touch,

one long hallway of doors — of green, of silver, of hush.


a fish caught, and then released.


all the islands of the world pieced back

together into this great continental puzzle.