She can’t do what they do,
can’t be who they are. Weeping
Willows and creek-
beds fill her brain, backroads
coursing with betrayals
she can’t live with or live down.


She needs a special kind of silence,
buckets full of still water. Shale
scooped up and sieved. A memory
can ease a seagull into flight. She
scrapes poverty from underneath
each golden toenail. She’s Big Easy and bad


temper all smashed into one.
Without knowing why, that urge moves her
Toward an embarrassed gesture
and she tongues the smooth flesh
of her wrist, tasting salt and perfume,
only to learn the sting of the gift,


an absolute certainty, a barometer
measuring what’s real and what’s false.