of my dead on it, a long list
though right now it's just Danny
I seek out, Danny I trust
to have some afterlife wisdom
since he lived with such joy.
When I approach, he ink-stamps
a kiss on my temple. I meant
to beat this thing, he says.
I think of the painting he did
of a couch that was meant
to hang over a couch.
I think of his dyed pink Keds.
It was the eighties, I remind him.
No one beat it then. We slow dance
in silence to the Irish ballad
with his name in it, my palms resting
on what was once his strong back.
I could say how it gets to me,
seeing his ruddy cheeks on strangers.
Instead I close my eyes and sway.
* * *
ACROSS THE HUDSON
in my son’s kindergarten classroom,
sand table, block corner…
He’d picked quiet reading.
I'm told the shuddering thunder
of the crash scared them,
yet drew them to the window
where they saw the first tower
lit like a torch before the teacher
had a chance to pull the shades.
Earlier that morning,
my boy shouldered nothing
but a backpack with a super-hero on it,
those cartoon muscles promising a world
that could always be saved.
* * *
She's become a hush among the grownups
when she's not a warning to never cross between cars.
She's become an open eye overhead
while you play with her friends. God's neighbor.
A ghost girl who knows you've thought about
her beautiful doll with bendable legs going to waste.
She hovers in the blind spots of your room
when you wake thinking, I'm still here,
and when you smell the skin of your upper arms,
warm and bland as oatmeal, for proof.