To the Inevitable Heartache


Don't think I can't see you there,

conspicuously darkening that thruway,

technically an artery, 

lying in wait like a tigress,

baiting me, perversely, toward 

joy. Your crouch 

fools no one. 

Least of all me, who knows

by now well enough to sense

the fall back, the way Sisyphus

might vertigo 

at hilltop, knowing the rock's

next stop is bottom. 

And yet, shaky cameras

on a tourist boat catch my approach,

a skittery wildebeest lumbering

in the direction of Tigris.

They hush. I put my tongue 

in the water, feel my flank

jump and wonder why, 

even while I sense threat, even

while one eye rolls toward the sky,

which is the problem with this fertile 

place: something feels right. We know

that following every fullness 

what's left is the milk-leak 

of the moon. Shine spent; 

crescent soon. 

— from Phases. Copyright © 2017. Used with permission of Cascade Books.