Ritual

the bed, made,

blue sheets tucked

just so under the end of the mattress.

 

I have been trying

to forget  you

in this deliberate

 

way, the coffee brewed

and poured

into the fogged up mug.

 

is it the smell that comforts

or the way you come home

to a half drunk

 

glass of anything

sitting, speechless

In the sink?

 

the water on your hands

inside the mug

makes you think of standing

 

on the breakfast room chair

at five   cleaning dishes

that were already clean.

 

you don’t need anything

but these motions

when you are forgetting

 

and Dylan plays, as always

on the turntable

mind.

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Story

The beginning is always improbable:

A good hook. You can sense

a golden seed blowing through the air

 

About to land, anywhere,

And turn into

Peony  or zinnia  or maybe even, human.

 

The middle:

All conflict—a bar fight, communal

Shunning, disease, divorce.

 

If the story is good, the conflict

Is like the one you are living and yet

Not so to the naked eye.

 

It is one you can feel

In your breastbone, in your sleep,

And you mention it to your bedmate

 

the breath knocked out of you.

 

When the story finds its end

You are stunned

Or unsurprised. Either

 

Way you would like to return

To the moment the seedling fell from the tree

And was just about to become,

 

given enough sunshine & dark

enough melted

cubes of ice.

The Dallas Avenue Train

I

Loss is carried

like unmarked cargo,

on its way across the Dallas Avenue bridge,

the train tracks

rattled, the windows rattled, my rib cage rattled.

 

II

When I wake the sky isn’t peeking but tumbling

drunk into the room, dropping pearls

everywhere,   weightless globes of sun    all across the sheets

the cat asleep around my legs.

 

It is then I remember     to listen

for the sound of the morning train   my body alive

on the bridge   and the dark  flowered   into more dark   flowered into day and everywhere:

irises in bloom.

 

 

Where I Go in May

The woods could disappear and I would still go in search

Of the last   branch where I could hang

All these dreams, like so much

Water. I carry the water

As best I can, even when it slips

and soaks the earth

instead of staying safe in a tin cup

that has been offered by a man

with a string attached

to trauma.

I want the woods, you see,

Not just because the violets

Are the only real softness

Anyone can count on

But because the leaves

and their triangular light

remind me that all of this living

has been real.

 

-Siobhan Casey

Advice

 

 

The answer is right there,

 Look around you the man said and you will

Find the answer.

 

Instead  I found  a parking ticket

On my windshield for zero dollars and zero cents

Due on the twentieth of April.

 

Is this the answer  I wondered

As I walked circles around my block.

A child wandered up to me   her eyes so big  and dark

I instinctively knelt down and laughed with her.

We compared shoes:

 

Hers wore pink rabbit ears   and mine

Wore the air– flip flops, barely shoes at all.

I said that   she was killin’ it with those shoes

That she was a real strong rabbit

In those shoes.

Spring in Wilkinsburg

The alleyway was all blossom. Pinked and purpled overnight,  the flowers like   words of protest.         And so it happens, joy bursts through doors       in disarray.

To the right: a gym with graffiti-d doors. To the right: rows of houses, unkempt “property” where the neighbors, my neighbors, hold barbeques and exchange recipes and slumlord stories. Where grandmothers take care of the children and call them in for supper at seven. Where the color of my skin is paler, more privileged and yet accepted.

I walk this alley often, the cats following, slinking out from under garage doors.

I am learning from the alley.  To be soft   and yet rooted. To grow whether or not you are visible.

Not in defiance but in awe.

~ S. Casey

Today

 

Today:

I poured a net of clementines into a cold, ceramic bowl.  Now I know what sound

sunlight makes.

I felt time slipping

and so I rushed into the snow

in time to meet my favorite black lab and his owner.

The dog makes circles on his back

and I reach for him, I reach for what is real.