1. The Wallet

for Adam

As you drove,
the inventory and implications
spun out.

Bank card. VISA card. Discover card.

Master card. Library card. Insurance card. Gym card.
Social security card. Voter card. Draft card.

Business card. Gas receipt. Laundry ticket.
2 tens. 1 five. 3 ones.
Spare change. Cookie fortune.

Laundry ticket. Lottery ticket. Parking ticket.
Restaurant receipt. Ticket stubs.
Coupon. Rain check.

Magnetic. Worn out. Outdated.
Faded. Plastic. Scratched. Tattered.
Taped. Folded. Torn.

But I knew you would find your self again
in the usual places
or by simply retracing your steps.

2. Questions for the Gods: Sisyphus

for Claudia

Why didn’t Sisyphus simply walk away
and climb, unencumbered, up the smooth cleft
worn in the undulant hillside, up and over that crest,
bright purple with wild violets one brilliant day?

Could a man who outsmarted death miss
this no-fuss solution, and become eternally dumb?
With such an easy path to blue-sky freedom,
why was he now oblivious to the obvious?

Perhaps stupidity was his punishment,
not the grunting futility of eternal strain,
or mindlessly pushing his faltering brain
up endless hills…and the crushing descent.

No matter how relentlessly he would chase
after answers, he would never again keep pace.

3. Questions for the Gods: Prometheus

for Claudia

There was no use in scanning the sky.
Besides, for now, the air was clear.
But he knew the eagle would reappear
when it was good and ready.

Finally, wings tucked, pinions flared, it descends.
Talons engage belly and face. The disgust
of its beak, hot and bloody, tasting its daily lust,
Prometheus pinned, unable to raise his hands.

What pained him most and at what cost?
The irony of exchanging a spark for monotony?
The enraging predictability of momentary agony?
Or that back-breaking rock he lay across

where every day, he faced the bittersweet
power of his self-regenerating defeat.

4. A Kiss

like vapor
to mist
or rain

down roof
and pipe


5. Today

This is no place for duplicity.
Today is for simplicity—
a couplet or two
without why, how, or who.

6. Shear Force

A locomotive without destination,
roars around us all night long.

You hold me
and say my legs are like iron.

My weakness is at my knees,
in articulation and motion.

By morning, some had lost trees.
Out back, small branches,

a ruin of frail bones,
pile around the sycamore.

7. Thread of Light

We strung strands
of bulbs on small hooks
screwed to the underside
of the pergola’s lowest joists.

After night settled in,
I flipped the switch.
Still too cold to sit outside,
we admired light from inside the sunroom.

Was the golden light
a warm night
in a Mexican plaza
I never visited,

or Edison’s bulbs, bare
in his porch ceiling alongside the banyan—
a wild city of trunks, roots, and limbs
filling his Fort Meyers garden?

Since time began
we have needed to control darkness.
So little separates
tooth and claw

from the law of civilization,
dangling above the void
by the glimmer
of a single burning filament.