Hornbeam

Whatever else happened between the leaves
or in the hammock, Louise was not about
to stick around to find out. Norman told her
to come for a walk, so that’s what she did,
meeting him in the shade of the hornbeam
tree, admiring its catkins. She always liked it
when a man knew trees: Not just, Meet me
under that big, round shade tree
, but
Meet me under the hornbeam. Maybe
Meet me under the hornbeam, Dear
would be better. But there was time
enough for that, she thought, more than
enough evenings left in June, More
than enough Junes left for all that
.

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Here’s the Thing

I never said I didn’t want to move to Denver,
only that I hate mountains and craft beer.
Maybe you misheard; what I actually said
was that I’m not moved by John Denver –
his music or his Grape Nuts commercials.
But Denver is as Denver does, and if you
want me to fly low over all the wildflowers
there, pollinate all those acres of lupines,
then ask me again and I might say yes,
especially if you buy me a craft beer first.

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Reading on July 30 in Chicago

I have some exciting news: I’ll be doing a reading from my chapbook, Secret Rivers, on Wednesday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m., at Hyde Park Art Center here in Chicago. The venue is … well, just, wow. There’s currently an installation piece by John Preus called The Beast at HPAC, and the reading will be IN the installation, which is indeed beast-shaped. It must be seen to be believed.

If you live in the Chicago area, I hope you’ll come see my first poetry reading since college — and even then, it was always just a few poems, not me hogging the whole thing. So this is a pretty big deal!

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I Was Thinking About Toes

A cat’s toes in morning sunlight,
when you realize that they are pink
and black, mottled as pebbles, and
that you’ve never touched them.
How you’d like to, now.

My hairy big toes with blue polish,
chipped, and all the other toenails
long since mostly denuded of polish.
The word nude is in there somewhere,
and that’s how I feel: exposed.

My daughter’s toes, how she brags that
they’re as long as fingers, that she can
pick things up with them. My son’s toes,

how he wiggles them, announces that
Popcorn is popping, which is my cue
to nibble them. They do not yet know,

my children, that toes are anything to hide.
They are naked in this way, and innocent as cats.

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Major Thoroughfares

Channing Tatum, I am
your pretty wife.
Your head is as wide
as a pickle jar,
and your ears are
the handles to all
that I hold dear.
You bite your thumb
at me. Your belly is
made of arthropods
under a skin as slick
as any seal’s. I’ll tie
your bow tie for you;
then, let’s measure
your waist and my arm,
my index finger and your
eye socket, my avenues,
your boulevards, all the
major thoroughfares we
haven’t traveled yet.

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