Dark Matter

Poetry is the space between looking at the clock
and falling asleep, the time that does not exist
because you cannot mark it.  You cannot alibi
yourself. In that space, you are. In that time,
you cannot prove it.


Pain Threshold

When I was a little kid,
I cried about everything.
They say I asked for a Band-Aid
when my feelings got hurt.

When I was fourteen,
I jammed my toe into the couch leg.
I sucked it up and winced through the pain.
An hour later with the toe turned blue,
I limped to lunch, and the toe didn’t curl–
Mom said it’s broken, let me get you ice.

When I was twenty-one,
I was awash in a sea I didn’t recognize.
I said no one can know.
I wonder if, having broken a toe,
I should have anticipated the possibility of piranhas
in the water and called for help to get out.
How do I win? Suck it up and get hurt worse–
ask for help and look like a wimp.

When I was a little kid,
I cried a lot.
Pain was a signal to ask for help–
to let somebody know I was hurting.

The Sound of Almost-Silence

you know how when the talkers
and the chatterers
and the gabbers
are absent from the conversation,
sometimes the quiet ones speak up
and you learn something, you
get surprised?

with everyone else in bed
the clocks tick in syncopation
one a silvery metallic burst
the other a deep bronze heartbeat

I never knew you felt this way
I’m sorry I didn’t respond well
anything else is a heart attack