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
into the fogged up mug.
is it the smell that comforts
or the way you come home
to a half drunk
glass of anything
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
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.
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
cubes of ice.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
I poured a net of clementines into a cold, ceramic bowl. Now I know what sound
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.