words with holes too wide to constrain.
We point at their erratic flight,
defeated. We say “these.”
It makes tired children of us all.
We say “her.”
Your terrible freedom: they named you
that never knew you.
Let us designate, then, anew; and
let your new name be the word
in which you gather the intermittent
glow of these that pulse
with your strangest, most secret rhythms:
dictating nomenclature that casts its
One word for these:
1. the invisible stain of dread
that bleeds from the music and hollow click
of ice against teeth.
2. the ten short minutes at dusk
on a westbound highway when road and sky
are the same slate blue.
3. that same slate blue.
4. an envelope’s ruined clasp,
its prongs lost to merciless fingers
when tired metal succumbed
to the endless open-and-close,
the perpetual hunger for what’s within
that broke it, left it
a double amputee.
5. that startling gap in the static
that crackles off the windshield when
driving under a bridge
at speeds unsafe for conditions,
that perfect bubble of percussive silence
when you hear the wipers
but not the crushing rain;
and before the notion of quiet
can take root, the pounding resumes
as if the hesitation
were entirely in your head,
and you never even saw the bridge
it’s coming down so hard.
Each of these your namesake.
There is no name for you, still:
none save the wrong ones.
Yet untethered, one and all,
these will help us look,
shedding true but random brightness.
(first appeared in volume 1 of Constellations)