Life Choices

enough food and a mom

The dad. body has just enough gravy on his plate
to sop up one piece of bread. So, enough for one
supper, says the mom. She comes back to him, says
don’ t argue with mom, you’ re a ghost. There’ s enough
water around to drown a cob in its husk. in a dad. He puts
up weather stripping all night. to keep out the mom. He says

A Poem for S.

Because you used to leaf through the dictionary,
Casually, as someone might in a barber shop, and
Devotedly, as someone might in a sanctuary,
Each letter would still have your attention if not
For the responsibilities life has tightly fit, like
Gears around the cog of you, like so many petals
Hinged on a daisy. That’ s why I’ ll just use your
Initial. Do you know that in one treasured story, a
Jewish ancestor, horseback in the woods at Yom
Kippur, and stranded without a prayer book,

Hall of Records

There’ s a clever thing, stabs at her hand
on every corner now, revising the screed.
Watch her huff at the tiny screens that send
her chimpish copy up the line, to speed
the raising of the giddy, pixelled hall:
cornerless, mirror-tiled, the gorging sphere
a fast-receding shell enclosing all
we say or see, never to disappear,
bigger with each second, and the next,
its facets auto-replicant, until
the Record of  what was — each fingered text
and pic, the starry shards the hours distill —

Sonnets Uncorseted


She was twenty-two. He was fifty-three,
a duke, a widower with ten children.

They met in Paris, each in exile from
the English Civil War. Virginal

and terrified, still she agreed
to marry him. Though women were mere chattel

spinsterhood made you invisible
in the sixteen hundreds. Marriage was arranged

— hers a rare exception. Despite a dowry
a woman never could own property.

Your womb was just for rent. Birth control
contrivances — a paste of ants, cow dung


Somewhere now she takes off the dress I am
putting on. It is evening in the antiworld
where she lives. She is forty-five years away
from her death, the hole which spit her out
into pain, impossible at first, later easing,
going, gone. She has unlearned much by now.
Her skin is firming, her memory sharpens,
her hair has grown glossy. She sees without glasses,
she falls in love easily. Her husband has lost his
shuffle, they laugh together. Their money shrinks,
but their ardor increases. Soon her second child

A Certain Kind of Eden

It seems like you could, but
you can’ t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’ s all too deep for that.
You’ ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’ re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them —
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,