Their howls rip sleep in two. Night's gone into labor,
breathes jagged air.
Later: sadness rises and falls in curtains.
The other day a neighbor caught a pair of coyotes
drinking moonlight out of her swimming pool.
They were unmoved by her symphony of clanging pots.
Now she keeps her kids inside,
subscribes to the sunshine channel.
I once loved a man who loved the sound of coyotes.
We rode nightly on that rollercoaster of crescendo and rest.
There was a kind of magic in it
but I knew if I followed the sound to its source
I'd emerge into a clearing of complete emptiness,
fall forever in zero's black hole.
My ex-love says the coyotes arenít singing emptiness at alló
that my origami silhouettes of loneliness
are only the echoes of lullaby.
Fold words into cranes. Knit sound into sequence
and hold its shadow up against tomorrowís blank slate sky.
Watch how the dark flutter of notes makes meaning
seem bigger than it really is.
Watch how time washes silence clean.
The architecture of expectation
only smokes: rain-drunk dragon
guarding someone else's
version of contentment.
Then all at once intensity
opens its palm, and red
spreads from the roots to the tips
of color until the whole
sky's breathing heat
and the fire tree,
if I can call it that, shakes out its hair.
Sparks ride air
take root in doubt;
they may never matterómay
never burn down the wick of darkness
the snow's fierce calligraphy.
Hours later, when we ride by,
embers still glow
simmering on opposite sides of a bed
or the one idea
I can't keep lit, can't let go.
Dead Wife Look Alike
Everyone keeps calling your name.
In parking lots, women tell me
Iíve got the recipe for eternity,
surround me with shopping carts.
As if thatís not bad enough
toddlers and shaggy dogs
keep weaving rings around escape.
Hey, I canít even cook pasta
but the man you married
tells me I sometimes carry a cane
and your own mother swears
this summery dress and bright
bandanna wrapped around my head
will lead her straight to you.
There are only seventeen people in the world
who speak regret fluently.
There are forty-two tricks for remembering,
but only eleven for forgetting.
Please respond. I have so much more
to tell you about invisible.
Lori Lamothe has recent work in 42opus, Barn Own Review, failbetter.com, Linebreak and other magazines. Her chapbook, Camera Obscura, is available from Finishing Line Press.