I learned the best ways to kill myself from my father.
I learned to stare down fear from the death of my father.
A priest, a therapist, and drugs ward off her demons.
Her insurance expires, she begs pray for me father.
Cold is cold at thirteen or negative thirteen.
We argue. We love. Still you will never be a father.
Stained glass melts in candle flicks. I no longer belong.
Hands clasped, soul broken, I kneel and say, Our father…
A distant dog howls into a December morning.
My husband kneels, laces his shoes like his father.
Feet of Snow
Bathed in light I walk to you through two feet of snow.
The snowman rebuilds himself adding feet of snow.
I forget that once I loved you, twice I needed you.
Always I travel without you, numb, through feet of snow.
Deer shelter under drooping pine trees. Unswept needles
insulate the body of earth and flesh, leave imprints in feet of snow.
A cold fights me in unseen places. Hidden, it wages
a war of survival, a war multiplied by the outside feet of snow.
I press my frozen feet to my lover’s thighs. He
sighs, laces his body with mine despite my feet of snow.
Eyes watch the airplane smoking love words in the sky.
In the city, a woman falls to a man, declares Yes to the sky.
I would trade the poetry of sunrise for a baby in my arms,
to teach her the shapes of dragons becoming dogs in the sky.
We drink wine hours past midnight. The children dream-drunk
on sofas, curled on the carpet. The adults count the stars in the sky.
This year, the geese return early with spring. Robins walk edges
of still empty planters. Birdsong wakens, shakes the winter sky.
My father let love pull him to pieces. Asked my mother to meet him
in Saturn’s rings, on Mars’ moons, follow his map in the night sky.
My ears buzz with silence. My husband gone to work. Lying
in the yard, I wonder at the empty tree limbs lacing the sky.
My brother sobs in my arms, pours out his broken heart.
A puddle forms on the floor, remnant of a broken heart.
Winter air consumes the breath, turns the body brittle,
freezes the homeless man to the core of his broken heart.
I seek where the sky touches the ocean, where magic
poppies grow, the lost shore that can heal a broken heart.
My dead father speaks in my dreams. I do not remember
his voice, only the door closing on his broken heart.
The dog listens to NPR all day, grows tired as
human tragedy bores holes into her broken heart.
Green and red wrapped Christmas presents consume the pagan tree.
We keep score with gifts and money, ignore our broken hearts.
The immigrant apologizes for broken English,
tells her story of before, leaves out her broken heart.
The seamstress blows her nose, straightens her shoulders, unspools
golden thread four feet, threads a needle, stitches her broken heart.
A widow kisses a casket, her lips sixty years full
of him who adored her, grateful for a broken heart.
Seagulls fly circles above the lake, cry out, seeking
life’s feast. I, too, want to soar above my broken heart.
My great-grandmother’s cellar dug deep into mountains
filled winter bellies with potions to restore a broken heart.
Melatonin forges waking dreams, reality bends,
eagles rut, boars fly, dragons steal a broken heart.
Sand slips beneath his feet. The ocean sweeps his body
far from my reach. What stores the future for a broken heart?
Eighteen hours reveals words unspoken, lives weary
of living. We tour Paris disguising our broken hearts.
Valentine’s Day I tear into a box of chocolates,
love sore tongue, the lacey outline of a broken heart.