In this frigid winter of your forgetting

where any meeting is fragile,

we meet between

morning & more snow. I picture

your mind filled with shadow. In some future, I hold

the skull saw, the light that the saw lets in.

Is it luxurious to be still

alive, after the life you’ve been given

to forget?

Dementia gathered in my grandmother, a decade

ago. She forgot my mother’s name. Our faces. How she begged

my grandfather to take her home every day.

I can’t imagine a cruelty that will allow us to keep you

here. Stutter

of mind, stutter of hope. Should I shutter

your mouth to the wind coming

off the lake?

In sub-zero temperatures, even the hares disappear.

The stars, like past selves, risen on dark water.

The snow kicked up by our shoes reminds me

of weddings.

How we eloped not once, but twice. Buildings,

fallen in the background. The airports full of automatic weapons.

I’ll try my best to remember

where we were & how & when, & who made who laugh

before the altar

of night, & how the cold snuck

into my hands when you were someone else, suddenly,

& memory was all that could separate us.

Powerlessness is the Animal We Fear

In Florida during a hurricane evacuation, fuel tankers

drive I-75 South on Good Morning America

but never reach us. The gas stations, empty, except for the lines. My son

drives station to station with me, his eyes bright as moons.

Later, bullets careen through the bodies at Parkland High School. Amid after-threats,

our son’s school is in lockdown for weeks. The kids sit through daily drills, not allowed out

of closets, even to piss.

We go to the beach for my birthday.

Another maybe-child spills from me like a constellation

into the shower drain. At my annual checkup,

the doctors find masses in my breasts only an ultrasound can hear.

Tonight, the blood moon. And you. You call me terrible


as the hurt you’ve dragged over continents enters me like a picture-hanging

nail, the claws opening a hole in my heart.

I dream all night that bars seduce most of the men I love.

The drinks, the drugs.

The prairie that holds our fathers

we know not where.

The wildflowers I have already picked out for your mouth, riverstones

to cover your eyes.

I wake to suicide notes you leave around the house, on our phones.

Our son wears headphones to escape you, asking me if we can.

What I know is: we fell out of like, as he slept that night. The eye

of Hurricane Irma hovering over the city. The bay waters sucked back to the ocean

for three days before the storm made landfall.

So much of terror is in the waiting.