September

I know I could do better.
I could go outside, get some sun. Instead,
I watch from my window as the snow falls
as if God is grating parmesan
over the city: Say when. I’ve never
had the chance to love desperately,
but I’ve felt rage worm its way through
my stomach like a parasite. So many things
I cannot say aloud: It would be wrong to bring
a child into the world to watch me suffer, to suffer
with me won’t win me any friends.
Am I worse off than anyone else,
though? I sip my dark roast, spell my
name in carrots on the counter. I am
no longer, at least, a monument
to damage: my ribcage a coliseum,
its broken edges jabbing
at the sky. The faint sounds
of Earth, Wind, and Fire play
in my kitchen, and I smile,
even shimmy a little. None of us
will last forever. Someday,
maybe soon, everything will ache
a little less.

For My Father: A Sonnet Redoublé

1.

If you were here, you’d know how I believe
in signs. No, not astrology, but signs:
the dream a sexy drummer smirks, declines
my tired flirtations while I play naïve,
and stand, busty with purple lipstick, pining.
The biker gang I almost hit but dodged,
and Robin’s epic 90s speech still lodged
too comfortably inside my psyche (dining
beside my other thoughts): It’s not your fault.
You might not know, but I write poems now,
and read, while bathing, Rilke, Salter, Howe,
our Jericho, decaying minds like Walt.
Today’s book starts Dear Father. Yes, it’s true.
So, Dad, this crown of sonnets is for you.

Seven

“So tell me: on a scale of one to ten,
what would you rate your life?” Somehow, again,
I’ve found myself inside a stranded bar
with made-up drag queens, doughy bankers. Far

away, the girls I came with flirt with men
in navy cargo pants and boat shoes. When
was that in fashion? I’m all set to leave,
depart in silence, pizza my reprieve,

until the strange man corners me and chirps,
“How would you rate your life?” Long-nailed, he slurps
what could be one of those Long Islands, though
I just don’t care. Probably, years ago,