[Locked away we’re like a Russian novel:]

Locked away we’re like a Russian novel:

                                               the hermit and the cowboy,

me stepping from the train.

                                               A world of snow. Whose Great Coat a den

of baby foxes skinned and sewn together.

                                               We’re a field of stars,

all the peasants’ sheep shorn in haste

                                               made into a carpet placed beneath my feet,

the stationmaster’s son sent through the night to find us

                                               this small room.

[symbol] ’s the foxes and the wolves.

                                               [symbol] ’s the doves with their curved necks

waiting out the rain.  [symbol] ’s the grass

                                               starting to shake. [symbol] ’s the medals

on whose own bureau, the silver

                                               glinting on whose horse’s bridle.

I said, Samovar sounds like a knight.

                                               It’s just a fancy tea pot. [symbol] ’s my samovar,

the steam that makes my cheeks glow

                                               so all the women talk. [symbol] ’s the snow

covering the wolf’s tracks,

                                               the party of sleds sent out and not returning

[symbol] gives me whose alphabet of notes

                                               One by one each day. [symbol] ’s a thousand pages

read across the endless plains til [symbol] rides hard

                                               beneath my window and helps me down

as the first flakes fall and I say,

                                               You brought the first snow for me.

A Word From the Fat Lady

It isn't how we look up close
so much as in dreams.

Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts

crusty skin- not his fault 
they keep him in a crate

and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair

and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,

it is themselves they see:
the preacher with the farmer's girls

(his bulging eyes, their chicken legs)
or the mother lurching towards the sink,

a baby quivering in her gnarled 
hands. Horror is the company

you keep when shades are drawn.
Evil does not reside in cages.

Graves We Filled Before the Fire

Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds wide enough for planting
wheat or summer-squash but filled

with boys, a barren crop. Our lives
stripped clean as oxen bones.

Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]

He's really beautiful. When he's standing in the trees like that and thinks nobody sees him. He's like a stag. Which sounds silly but he is. The way the light shines on him. The way it bounces off his hair like spray from the sprinkler. And he doesn't know it right then. Because he's looking somewhere else. Maybe up at a bird. I was standing a few feet away and turned back because I heard him whistling when he thought I wasn't listening. He wasn't thinking of me. He was looking at a bird who was sitting in the tree and looking back at him. If his shirt was off he'd have been dappled golden in the sun coming through the leaves. He didn't notice me watching him without his shirt on. He was standing in the forest and the sun was coming through the trees and covering him so he glowed. I knew he'd be warm if I walked up and touched him. And probably not mad. He's like something in a movie or like a book we'd read in summer by the pool. He didn't see me looking because he was so peaceful staring at the bird.