He saw teenagers carrying flammable cans / of kerosene and boxes of wooden matches, torching / the discarded carcasses of Fords and Chevies, / spreading flames through abandoned buildings / and unused factories, lighting one-story houses / on narrow lots in small neighborhoods.
My uncle killed a man and was proud of it. / Some guy with a knife came at him in Flatbush / and he knocked the fucker to the ground. / The sidewalk finished the job. // By then he’d survived two wives and / a triple bypass. He carried the plastic tubing in his pocket / and would show it to you, to anyone. / He’d unbutton his shirt right there on the street / to show off the scar.
The day that they stole her tiger’s-eye ring
was the day that she became a tiger.
She was inspired by advice received from Rilke
who recommended that, if the business of drinking
should become too bitter,
that one should change oneself into wine.
When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Nieviaza
Something was there, that I didn’t then try to name:
Everywhere, between the trunks of linden trees, on the sunny side of the lawn,
on the path by the orchard,
A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.
The moon-stirred volume of ocean sighed
Coconut tanning-oil and frozen custard.
Birch horses and dragons rode the merry-go-round.
A splinter of the herringbone cedar boardwalk
Might be teased from your finger with a steel
Needle purged of germs by a match’s flame.