Midair I replace the engine’s gray, truculent noise
with your voice and its buttoned-up shades
of green, like I do so I remember to keep

it memorized, so you aren’t small and I’m not big. Over
sticky rice I told you my fingers got thicker
this first year; the ring’s tight, and tighter

up in dry air. Kind and crinkly
woman gave me the window seat and she sits
so close I can smell her skin’s honeyed oils.

I’m afraid, I tell her, either because
I don’t know or because
no one, not even you, wants to come down

to earth with an almighty
thump. Not to worry, honey,
she says—and how strange to be called honey.

Up high, everything’s down low and humble
as bitty, fallen crumbs on our
too-too countertops.

Dried grains of rice last night.
Noticed them as you talked, thought to brush
them over the edge for my sweet dog

who always remains down, unwittingly,
and embraces the subdued cool of the floor. 
She’s yours now, too.

In silence we learned that air can be cut bluntly,
throats compressed, eardrums popped, by nothing at all.
Let’s land this thing and we’ll meet

somewhere lovely
farther down there but
up around, say, here,

sit silent maybe before
you tell me your story anew
and that it’s ours. May all

that loudly lifts and ascends be only
our gladness in love, our level
arms always propelling until we arrive once more,

though more safely
than we imagined;

I want to breathe the same susceptible air again.    





Some say the dead

don’t care and I don’t much.

It’s you and maybe your growing-up

daughter or son who keep

me around. I heard

you all crying out red-orange


in the car; everyone heard

you. But I can’t save

the world. So baby, darlin’, child,

if I cared some,

I might instead nudge you gladly

and easily beyond

the one about my girl,

the one whose eyes

are brown, and roundabout

backwards till you hear

the one being

born again.