Up late scrolling
for distraction, love, hope,
I discovered skew dice.

In the promotional video
you see only a mathematician’s hands,
like the hands of god,

picking up the dice one at a time,
turning them over and over 
before returning them 

to the hard wood table,
where each lands with something 
between a whoosh and silence,

face up, face down,
some faces lying on their side,
as at other archaeological sites.

I bought a set of the patented dice,
each with its own logic and truth 
and aleatory uncertainty—

at home alone I rolled them
across my dining table
to pass the time, 

and time with its own logic
passed. Dear god.
I haven’t been touched in so long.

Living Room Altar

Except for the shirt pulled from the ocean,
except for her hands, which keep folding the shirt, 
except for her body, which once held their bodies, 

my sister wants everything back now--

If there were a god who could out of empty shells
carried by waves to shore
make amends--

If the ocean saved in a jar
could keep from turning to salt--

She's hearing things:

bird calling to bird,
cat outside the door,
thorn of the blackberry against the trellis.


This evening I shared a cab with a priest
who said it was a fine day to ride cross town

with a writer. But I can't
finish the play I said,

it's full of snow.
The jaywalkers

walked slowly, a cigarette warmed
someone's hand.

Some of the best sermons
don't have endings, he said

while the tires rotated unceasingly
beneath us.

All over town people were waiting
and doubleparked and

making love and waiting.
The temperature dropped

until the shiverers zipped their jackets
and all manner of things started up again.

Sweet Double, Talk-Talk [iv.]


I know agape means both dumbly
open and love not the kind of love
that climbed the stairs to you.

Related Poems

Disintegrating Calculus Problem

A dramatic clue lodged in a rockface. Set in a shimmering sound belt slung around the grasses. Collections of numbers signify a large sum, a fatness that cannot be touched. Numbers are heart weight in script. Calculus means a small pebble pushed around maniacally. Binding affection, instead of fear, to largeness.

Ideas are peeled into fours and pinned on the warm corners of earth to flap in a wind. Wind, the product of a swinging axe that splits the sums. This math flowers on the tender back of the knee. An operatic leaf in the tree uses a secret algebra to perforate dense void. The void behaves as a porous slice of rye bread spread thick with salted butter.

Food is braided into the body. On the watchface of the lake, a felled tree trunk keeps protracted time. Circling vaguely like the day does. The circle is dented by the dense tear of a woman without the thing she needs. A loudness about need has a reverse effect. The loud need loses mass. This new thinned need is braided into a story archived in a dark library inaccessible to the public.

The tear weighs the same as a loaf of rye bread. The circle is made of birthday wishes glued together with morning sun mucus. Whatever is hidden is pluckable in time, even sound and meaning. Wind deserves a trophy for revealing this elegantly.

I Looked on My Right Hand and Beheld

a hand made out of all that it touched—
fingers of syringes packed with soiled
polyester blankets nails cut from

a plastic bottle cap knuckles
shaped by rinds of other knuckles
and details layered in delicate ash—

ruddy, colorful, clothed. But the left,
flesh and grey, poured like the concrete
surrounding it and sanded at the edges

careful as geometry allows with
dried skin creeping through contours.
Naked hands. Beating knuckles on the ground

wondering will it crack the concrete finally
will it crumble under opposing forces—
material, economy as simple as concrete

is simple, simple to explain but difficult
to understand without explanation.
As plates in our deep crust skid past

one another. One might wonder who
thinks to pour a building of mostly
liquid. Such is the logic of conviction

we are told before the terms are defined.
Dysfunction of episodic memory.
Episode of memory of dysfunction.

Hands that are not our hands.
And so convinced are we of
our own demise we devise it.

Conversation in Isolation

Neighbors nail the planks
dividing their yard from mine.
Our durable fence.

I walk half a block
before realizing I’ve
forgotten my mask.

One ant following
another, trusting we all
are going somewhere.

Stretched between two poles,
clothesline outside my window,
a robin’s rest stop.

Lemons fallen on
the sidewalk to be rescued
for my potpourri.

No one and nothing
touches me but this blue wind
with cool caresses.