Co-Winner Academy of American Poets Prize
Published: April 22, 2010

I listen to the unwell

wails of geese flying south.

What is the urgency of birds?

A harpsichord of sorts.

A true account of talking to cosmia.

I cut away the earth.


I dig for Passaic’s grey marbles,

dig for the river we left,

like muscle beneath flesh.

I haul up the tinder box

of burned out pines, all the TVs

in the next apartment flashing,

I collect the windows stuffed up

with popcorn, collect enough sadness

to last through the leap year.


I repeat the river. I repeat

the red brilliance. Your name

is a garland on my tongue.


I repeat the sounds of the geese,

the cedar smell, I repeat, repeat

the wild softness of your collarbone,

the curling ramps in a stadium.


The roadside, your concentration.

I repeat your cigarette, cigarette kindled

carefully by dashboard. I repeat,

please repeat, the end,

the way you look when you come,