If I fail to speak to you
As a mirror to a stone in a reader’s desert
As a leaf who has fallen on a car’s hood
Well, we know the Gemini of our feelings
You cross yourself throughout several lifetimes just this way
As the whales traverse oceans
This selfsame moment
We have someone else’s difficult conversation
There is no music for my feelings today
That is the problem over here
(I’m all poppy fields this afternoon)
You have a museum for yours
Still, we are birds of a single claw
This is only a cafeteria where we sit
Who do we think we are catfishing?
As the other couples about us
Other bodies beyond the plate glass
Are doing their duty and becoming reflections
On this day of mercurial puddles
That is the real museum
Out there, good luck it says
Our feeling falls
As a stone’s query to a mirror
As a car that tells a dried leaf danging above it
“Jump and I will catch you”
The stars come out
but so do rats
Drive past a late summer match on a blue tennis court under shade
of a park’s greenest trees. Green shadows on a tennis court
of bluest blue, where young plays old, old plays young,
before it maybe happens, a quiet game elsewhere,
in other shadows, meshes of the afternoon, not hard fought
on either side really, since it’s nothing, nobody for keeps.
Why worry about the neighbor
who is a stranger
with a stranger’s life
and, besides, too young to know better.
I guess because I hear him scream
in the night, usually
at his wife, but sometimes
louder, the universe.
He had a hobbled foot one week.
I saw him on a crutch.
This week, it’s a weird white X,
some sort of tape, over one
of his eyes. He looks like a dead cartoon.
I think it’s the left one. He looks sad
as the misunderstood kid on the playground.
The one who goes home in the police cruiser
at thirteen or even younger.
He’s young but not really handsome,
but he has those melting expressions
I imagine certain women like. Too much.
He can often be heard
threatening his landlord on the phone
as he paces his front porch.
Sometimes it’s his ex and baby mama. I don’t think
he’s a bad sort. Just dangerous
to himself and, possibly, others.
You can’t live at your wit’s end,
not even if you’re twenty-six.
Maybe he needs to get some kicks.
He’s not stupid. I’ve heard him talk.
But, from what I can tell,
he’s ninety percent rage, ten percent
sage. And prison is full
of armed philosophers like that.
I get the impression that without women
he’d be nothing. Well, we all had a mother.
But you know what I mean. They’re his dangerous
and too-close support network. I know because I’ve heard
her yell too. It can get to be a bit of a zoo.
I know his only plan for the coming winter,
despite the crunch of poverty
and numerous wolves at the door,
is another tattoo. And, after that,
to show it off.
Be generous as the moon is with its light.
Give much for a while, then, maybe,
just a little, diminish, night by night.
Then disappear entirely for a while.
And reappear as just the teeniest sliver,
a Cheshire smile. This should turn your lover
to a lunatic, and keep your bedlife