The Charles Dickens Coat


Clarinet Quintet in B minor


passages of time

like a swallow

committed within a

slow, determined dive

beautifully present at once,

somehow silently



Clarinet Trio in A minor


I share with you the memory

of the black, tweed, pilled and rough

three dollar purchase

embroidered Victorian buttons

triple breasted

wool tailcoat with

loose threads

brushing my ankles



String Quintet in A minor


right eye opens

and a smile unravels

upon your face

like the wings of a newborn



We move on to






Annie Pigtails

If a heart could explode

like a science experiment

gone entirely wrong

that was my heart,

when I saw my hair




I loved them

so much.


Your first hair do

our first Halloween –

I was Annie

The Hard Knock Life

my God, that was our song.


The plastic, orange


knotted wig

went in

the trash


You stood behind me

the brush in your hands

like a fish

on land

and you did

your best.











September Wind

Fall leaves

green and soft in the middle



on the outside

like a rain stick upside down

in the breeze


The absolute

most gorgeous time of year

my favorite

I wait for it

and now

I do not trust

at all

the rotation of the earth

the slant of the sun.


I have gone almost nowhere


a year

missing you

with every tick

of the



And yet

the cool air

reminds me

I can feel as if my body is shattered

at the same time

I roll in piles of decomposing earth

with my children

in laughter-


I am home,

the address




Picking out the dress

I  frequently wondered about this moment

as if imagining an alien abduction

I knew you couldn’t be there

but maybe.


The gown in the window

facing West Silver Spring Drive –

I saw myself as


in Twelfth Night,

the dress had to

be mine.


My right hand shook

as if in fever

I opened the door,

“Please show me that dress in the window”



I slid my hands over the gown

as you see done in film

dropping the satin over my head, breasts and hips…

The seam brushed the carpet


back and forth

then still


Sleeves ivory and transparent

dipping at my wrists

like a pitcher,

babydoll stitching

gentle taffeta

like a quiet river

over my waist


Looking over my shoulder as if to see you there

I knew this was the dress

the mirrors knew

it was me, my glass of champagne and

the four surrounding


of glass.