a man tries to sell me a set of steak knives
he says i need them in the winter
in the summer you can't hide anything
winter comes and everyone wears coats

what they conceal you can't know
he holds tight to my shirt sleeve.

down the block a bit
a rat the size of a turkey carries
a half eaten egg sandwich

i give the man my last dollar for a steak knife
he tells me that one day
he will help me like I helped him
you won't always be there i say

back at my apartment
i wash the steak knife in hot water
and boil to white the calluses hanging on my hands
i think about the size of that rat

back home in pennsylvania
a rafter of turkeys in the road
with trailing poults
crosses slow.


tucked into the ground
a skeleton key that opens
every backyard gate
on the block

to mr. keller’s garden
where grapevine wrapped
around the wine cellar

rotting wooden frames
chipping beige paint flakes
we pried apart the rest
sliding underneath

keller turned suspicious
when he heard reclusive clatter
over television drone and
low volume

he saw our purple lips
a shattered black bottle between us
shared and dripping
bloody red

to thievery and punishment
was our most recent contribution
to understanding our
shivering hands


the tree is a square
the sign, an ill yellow post-it note
in which case, the signifier
is signified

whatever enunciation, it is improper
hanging askew
there to denounce any sort of action
as authoritative

underneath it in manhattan’s cubicle
written in virtuality
on a monitor
the newest of third dimension models

but a tree is still a square
and semiotics is cut down.

IV. (a cinquain)

a.e. housman
touched by the Last Poems
that drove men in canada to
their graves.















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