Nirvana’s on
while I’m behind the counter
and it’s perfect
cause this girl walks in,

cause Nirvana’s playing.

She smiles and
gives me the eyes.

She’s got this dress on,
green and gorgeous,
western cowgirl style,
like she always knows what time it

And she’s got these

And it’s perfect
cause Nirvana’s playing when
she orders:

Medium Americano,
shots on top.

And I think
what’s with the shots on top?,
so I ask,
cause why the hell not,
and cause, man,
I’ve been in the mood for love

And she says
cause it’s the only way to drink it, see
I just got back from Oregon
and everything’s better out there,
you know,

especially the espresso.

And I nod
cause she’s cute as hell
and cause it seems like
I just got back from Oregon

which I say as I hand over
the Americano with
the shots on top.

Then she smiles
cause it’s perfect
cause Nirvana’s





Wake up suddenly, like the seraphim proclaim:

A ladder leads to heaven

and drops back down again.

I laugh, kiss you and add:
I thought the universe dies
                                                                        and is reborn
                                                                        in every instant
or was that just a passing fad?

because you were always making these profound, absurd pronouncements, always                                                                                                entangling me with the eternal.

Once you saw angels
commingling among us.                        
Said I was an angel, too. But now
you won’t even look at me,
as you hop out of bed in a huff.

When you’re in the bathroom
I overhear you say:

I can’t Help It.
He speaks to me alone

then retreats.





You can’t throw someone’s dying wish away, so we keep the guitar, unused, held captive by the closet, buried by an abandoned comic book collection born from a mutual obsession with Saturday cartoons.

We all arrived on Saturday.

I remember being dressed in my finest Wisconsin summer camp Shabbat clothes when our mother called. She was past the point of being broken and said plainly
“We need you here tomorrow”

in her familiar way of calm, sweet sorrow.


Amassed at the airport, our family spread across the map converged in the center. We went to Memphis to wait and watch you die. There, huddled together as our
luggage unloaded, all our fears colliding, mom said you had “a week, at best.”

You had a week exactly.


They told you only that your body couldn’t bear the transplant, not that this meant you’d die in a week. So you went about as you always did, demanding things—a
Gibson this time—because you were sick and wanted one and because

that should have been enough.

Surely one last smile was worth the money. So before we unpacked or got our bearings about us, we found ourselves parked to meet you outside a retail music store sandwiched somewhere in a strip mall. As we arrived, I saw you for the first time in months, emerging with your unknowing, dying wish

and grin from ear to ear.





               in a bowl of cereal of all things:
his hair in there

with the hearts  
      the stars     
                        the rainbows,

      with the spoon.
. . .

Mom washed it so carefully
      took it from the drawer
       placed it on the napkin
so that he would fill himself and live.

. . .

She’ll wash it soon,
      the spoon
            his smooth head naked
            in its mirror now

and raw against the world.