Poems of the Week




There was singing—broken English,
a drift, and a circus of hands—


You can’t see the sky without distance.
But I see cats and they are dead in the trees.
Open your eyes, I say
If you want to really see them.


The ground is cracked.
Look up, it’s all cracked.


In my dream, there were horses and they were sliding
through a pit in the basement floor.
I went in after them.
I wanted to ride them to the bottom.


I bought a horse with a young man inside.

The pipes were broken and draining, brown rust, at first, and then
dark red.

Look closer, you said. And here is the thing,
I could see what you saw, what our father saw, and what the young man felt.

Then the hallway grew long—
And the front door got further and further away.

The young man’s back was turned.

Our father kept calling to us.

Nothing more—nothing more.


Once there was a storm—
A wing opened.
The storm roiled
until it disappeared.


I want to climb them.
But the branches are too high—
And what will you do when you get there?
Have a wedding in the sky.



I let you in–

toxic-drip in my vein–and in my mind’s room too

you live–even dead–oceans away– years away

still, in the forest here

I can not get the needle of you



that long-ago stab–love-red, negative-red–constant sting

of union



To trip the forced majestic.

To then almost fall ahead.

To make a darkness.

To then light up the fortunate dead.

To burst into question, into voiced-over nerve.

To then groan a few where-was-I’s in the morning’s weird gold.

To think to leave a place forever, wherever you are.

To then head back through the gate, the basic yard.

To lay off the day’s controls and keep your suit on like a scar.

To then improvise restraint behind an open, broken door.

To say: “The dream was in me like a bone.”

To then mean it.

To listen for the pill to never come.

To then sleep.

To sleep the half-sleep of the flammable, whoever they are.

To then not regret—so be it—your alarm.

To feel that every possible shape’s been made.

To then crush a cup of water.

To crush another cup of water.

To then work the human room.


You Know Everything


The hampered coast in you
wakes up

the shape of the world—

close cry of breath,
decisions of light.

You were never too young
for solitude’s frail gestures.

Always the same eyes.


Lay this hope
on your one dark wing:

like a fever,

you’re coming down with a salted grace,

a flowering tree,
the story of your life.


all from The Laurel Review: The Poetry Only Issue 43.1 (Winter 2009), Ed. John Gallaher and Contributing Editor, David Dodd Lee.

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