Somewhere low the traveler in his hat
asks directions, higher up, death on her horse
with her wings and compass, paid mourners
on the upper level in their muu-muus
and brogues, smoke and chat on their break,
real mourners lounge off to the side, drinking,
telling jokes, ladies in the dressing room
with their mystical pets and cosmetics,
your effigy enthroned and looking like
some anyone not you–later on the other side
such weeping the wine can’t assuage now
the procession’s done, guests heading home,
treading on blossoms, their feet trailing ash.






Susurration, that sound everything green
relaxes into at dusk, something like
thunder but somewhere over yonder, some
quiet thing concentrating the arbor,
June bugs, like the tintinnabulation
always in my head, my brain plantation,
you think, you want to think, romantic things,
the smell of the neighbor’s gardenias
up there on the porch, or the kind of cool
that feels like someone’s almost touching you,
everything that spooled out outside that
knotted up room where the demon was, so
hungry and demanding with its sudden
wind and wasps, so old and practiced, the way
it crawled up inside and emptied out and
made the world all ash, how was it that you
did not know, my talisman, and could not
in your safe oblivion, your smooth world
fathom the soft underneath where it fed.