Reading

It begins.  It ends.
The story goes on.
Footsteps on the ceiling,
toilet flush, water rinse,
softer not-fast feet
take time now that the rush
is over,
there’s room for words and maybe
a laugh
(he never laughs, but they do).
A crunch.  Munchy-crunchy. Fun.

He must have it —  women in 
a steady stream says stud, right?
They spend the night once or twice, 
seem sated, smile in the elevator next-day.
He must have it. Yes.

But the story has another side,
an aside, something in the margin:  
the crashing lasts but a paragraph,
sometimes two if the writer is good,
mark the start and mark the finish
and then the toilet and the water
and the softer feet
another paragraph another night
another woman smashing the headboard
into sentences that end
all
too
soon

measuring exposition and completion

line-by-line

as that steady stream
is suddenly understood.

(from I Can See You — A Collection of Neighbors)


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“Upstairs Elk”

There’s an elk living upstairs.
I can tell by the lumbering.
Hard-crusted hooves
crash against the straining floor,
drunk, ungainly; 
I’m sure his thighs —
they ripple with fat-stores
as he smashes from room to room,
not sure why he’s there.

Still…

when he makes love,
grunts around each night
mounts the elk-lette,
even his strange body
fades into power

and little elks.

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“Better”

“You want me to stay?”

The beginning
that unfolds to an end
I won’t like.

Kill that tale now, 
before it becomes our story.

“No. But thank you.”

“Really?” he says,
eyebrows newly engaged,
the way they rose before,
before this had to mean.

“Yes.”

Then he kissed my hand
like a man does a magistrate.
Got dressed fast —
maybe I’d change my mind.
One last glance back

as we began 
better.

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