The Bridge \ The Gate

The patrolman approaches slow, scared      I will jump.

                                    He is so young.

                                    His hands tremble      like the word please.

               But I have no intention today of leaving my body.

I’ve paused &nsbp;    only to watch the surfers collide with the Pacific.

               Such strange symmetry:       what the wave gives,        what it takes.

                      Where one bails beneath the break,        another glides to shore.

                             See, I want to say.
                            We live.


Every poem contains the dead.

Creatures worrying the bones.
                                          Buffalo, elephants,        men.

I have a habit of avoiding funerals.        Instead, I pretend,      I rewind,       I keep—

        look, how I still play scrabble with Nanu,     her nose too close to the board.

               She never loses her sight,       her words,

               never collapses into coma,         then further.

        Listen, how Brian still calls just ‘cuz—       giddy spring kiss, another man’s lips.

                      I never pried about the girls.

                      His mother never finds him


How often we try to kill things in ourselves.

                                           Regret, the unsaid,         our mothers.

        But the body is an archive

                             even as it burns.

My mother’s spine is leaking

                      & I am somewhere else,

                      watching the sea exhale,      watching fog swallow pier, coastline, city.


        Who would we be if we held all of it—grief, history, each other—

                                                  soft      as the fawn’s unflinching gaze?


I admire the forest floor:       log decaying, root reaching for root,        No partition.

        What rots         feeds.       What was         is
                                                               even as