Defined as a rabbit enclosure in the back
yard turning blue as dusk settles on the
patio, pockmarked with tomato plants
and rose bushes stranded in flimsy plastic
pots, leaving sugar-delicate droppings circling
the coop of plywood and chicken wire and
the rabbit inside is decomposing. Why didn’t
you pick up the phone?
August solstice and I am
Sitting in a lawn chair sharing
Moisture with the mosquitoes
While wrapped in a towel unwetted by
Your hair you curl up like a caterpillar
Cocooned on my chest. Record heat.
How dare I drop you into this feverish
World of late summer sprinklers
Tinkling with melting ice cubes?
Well, I’ve an inkling; not a prophecy,
Precisely, more the dreaded
Heart palpitating climax
Of leaning too far back in one’s chair
Past the tipping point; there is no recourse.
I can only hold you tighter as Fall approaches.
After the party we pluck
spindly tubes of mascara
from my wife’s lashes
and destroy softly
those tiny shells
of raw solitude
formed like pearls
around grit soaked
in invisible enzymes
macerating what was
once ripe like a burn
now turned to bursting
– for A.B.
Coffee and doughnuts and name tags set
just so on the plastic folding table, align
pamphlets and circle chairs like wagons
on the prairie, safety from the wolves
that stalk life’s corners and tear your mind
asunder; under each seat an agenda
of twelve bullet points printed and placed with
care beneath thirteen empty chairs, safety in numbers
on the clock’s face whose hands inch past
seven, your daughter’s age the third time
you got sober, but remember it’s a process and it works
if you work it; which is why you organize the pens,
keep the campfire burning, the chow warm, the coffee
bitter; call it alcoholic optimism to stand
in an empty auditorium vast as the prairie night
and declare to the silence Hello, My Name Is
and I Am.