After they’ve stolen the eggs from the chicken yard,
when the lottery ticket you thought you won
turned out to be a parking ticket, on a day
you could have slept through but didn’t,
somewhere at the bottom of a stack of bills,
like a smiley face left inside a lunch box,
a card with your name on it and inside the card,
all the love you could imagine,
more love than once split you open at the sides
from too much laughter
more than all the gold of sunlight just before dusk when
desire lays down its knitting,
love that blurs the space between us, love
so big you cannot see where it begins, or ends—
and sometimes, frankly, you forget its there,
atmospheric love, songs to which you know every word
and sometimes forget you are singing.
Portrait of a Woman Artist
We were outcasts living in America’s raised fist.
The cancer crouched in his lungs, waiting
for the surgeon’s scalpel.
My love dying upstairs as the tide spat bricks.
King was already dead. Kennedy next.
I made the headstone myself, bludgeoned the alabaster.
It consoled me with its weight.
When I took up with black musicians,
someone left a dead chicken on the porch.
I didn't care if I had enemies.
I taught myself to paint with the blunt edge
of a stick, ploughed into ice-thick water
to watch a cormorant dry his wings.
Friend, I tell you, I did not end.
I paddled harder then.
In memory of Pat de Groot
They called you
to the office
you did not imagine
your body or
dress code, or
how short your shorts
could be or
were allowed or
the sudden trouble
of your legs
the body as
from your dreaming
mind and how
you were warned
and stuck in those clothes
all day attending
the first indication
that your body
did not belong
and your legs
were not governed
by how fast
they could run
not even the bruises
and scars you acclaimed
belonged to you
how odd you felt
and suddenly wrong