On the west side running path
mist-ghosts disappear into the future

or rise to the surface as an impression
of color, or the outline of a limb,

wafting close enough that I can see
the ballooning of ribs sweaty
with effort

and the sinking again
of the ribs behind the spine—

& then the figures drift, sails half-filled
with wind, back into grey


The man in black shorts is not too much faster—
a slow erasure into fog

while my breath grows shallow
trying to catch him. Always,

I think I know this shape.
If I could get close enough to see

his face, I would lock eyes, ask
let me keep up.


Mist covers my feet,
fills my lungs.  The sound of water

knocking the dock as keen

as sounds from my mouth,
hiss of air in

& wheeze as breath leaves
me, leaves me, leaves


The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher; she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.
—Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Match Girl

Each snowflake melts on my skin. My breath tags the air.

Depression says the doctor. The word leaves a sticky residue when I
peel it off.

The stars form a long trail of fire that dusts the bridge, ignites
the buildings swimming in the river.

I keep a list of things I want to tell you.

The city is on fire
Frozen tears are falling from the sky
There was a woman on the subway wearing a dress made of garbage bags
I’m making one for myself

You flicker through windows, haunt each passing stranger’s face. When I wrap
my arms around myself, your fingers gutter my ribs.

I dread night’s arctic teeth. I find another box of matches, light them all at once.

The Nightingale

“You must always remain with me,” said the emperor. “You shall sing only when it pleases you; and I will break the artificial bird into a thousand pieces.”
— Hans Christian Andersen, The Nightingale

First, the streaked gilly’ver. The tulip blended with midnight.

A touch of madder root for the cheek. Lead & slaked lime for the lashes.

Then finally:  bellows, levers & valves, hidden under tinseled gold. And that voice.


You dye your hair black, I cut mine short.

You buy a white leather jacket. I wear green vinyl shoes & stack band-aids
on my heels.

At 4 am, the man at the West Village piano bar sounds like Barry Manilow.


First, we were kids in the suburbs. In Peter Pan, you sang falsetto while I danced en pointe.

Tinkerbell effervesced around the stage. Fairy dust drifted out into the audience.

You said If you need me, just blink twice.


All these years I thought you were the real bird; I thought I was the real bird.


At the Greek diner, we get pancakes. You tell me about your childhood dream girl, the one named Buttercup, whose hair has never been cut.