Bad Ones

You can’t write good til

you’ve written a lot of poems

Here are the bad ones

In Our Taxi

In our taxi
we take a shortcut
through 30th St.,
which I wouldn’t walk.

Which doesn’t seem
to end but carry on
with warehouses,
indefinitely.

And with the broken
streetlight disappearing
address numbers,
all graffiti, upturned
trash or shopping carts,
shattered shadows
into hulking ones…

We were in Detroit
or Los Angeles, maybe
Baltimore.

I think it is the
longest street
I’ve ever seen.

Winter Quarantine

I exhale and imagine

my breath scattering the snow

that has been falling

outside my window, steadily,

since morning.

*

It is bad travel weather,

though that doesn’t matter.

For ten months of quarantine,

there has been nowhere

safe to go. So that I’ve stopped

even trying to move.

*

I exhale and imagine

if we could see a coronavirus float

and flurry, land

on an outstretched hand

or tongue like a snowflake.

The models of the virus

online look like that.

*

I imagine if

we could always

see our breath,

the way we do

when it’s frozen,

charging out ahead

and burning back in.

*

Imagine.

*

I am used to the feel of breath,

now, when it’s trapped,

wet, in a cotton face mask.

I used to breathe

without paying such attention.

*

If…

*

I have always been restless

in winter. But I didn’t used to

have to remind myself every day

to take such deep breaths. To count

living and breathing as a success

for the day.