Silent Acts of Public Indiscretion (Fomite Press, forthcoming in 2021)
What I say to you is never what
I say to you but something else instead.
I can barely open my mouth.
What comes out is inaudible.
If something would bubble up inside me,
would enter the place that sound begins,
maybe then I would say
what happens between the lines of my breath.
But as it is,
I find nothing to engage my tongue.
I ask you just the same—
Crack the shuttered window of my silence.
Pry me open—listen to me shriek
with terror or with laughter.
Let these words make their futile escape.
Apex New York
The only to fight the play is with decency.
Here we are at the epicenter.
The apex, or maybe just
a fluke in numbers too heavy
to speak. Even our breath
is taken away by an earth
that pays us back for all
the damage we have done,
but still sends us tulips,
daffodils, blooming magnolias,
and other tokens of our
lucky lives. The sun still touches
our forbidden faces. Everyday
we cheer, we clap, we bang
pots and pans at seven o'clock
when shifts change at hospitals
and angels pass each other by
under a darkening sky. Dr. Li,
I whisper, Captain Crozier,
all our secret heroes, as though
they could keep us from harm.
We applaud people who can't
stay home—their job is
to care for us all. And
we cheer for ourselves as well,
for still being here to applaud.
Forgetting Time Lost
I never understood how time passes.
By the time we all knew
how much time we had lost
it was too late to count it, but
we marked our time with two
seven o'clocks, each day
in our beloved city.
We tried to grab hold of
parts of time, the way we
remembered each day—
You'd have no time for
all our fussing. Well, ok,
you said. Farewell certain years.
You would have clapped
and yelled loudest of all
putting neighbors into groups
of angels, cheering the living
and mourning the dead, especially
the poor, the unknown, the unlucky