Poems from “Open Wide, The Eye”

Small Spaces

In the white moon of an infant’s thumbnail
the loops of green carpet under the crib

in the pocket of a lost terry cloth robe
left on a Mykonos beach

in the cracks separating the piano keys
the bell of the oboe, the S of the violin

in the hush between the cadence
and the applause

in the slit between sheet and body
between blanket and breathing

in the slot between mainsail and jib
the thrust and flutter the vee of the wake

in the depthless footfall on black ice
the gap between deception and the summer sky

in the touch of a bald scalp to a skull
the cling of eyes and arms

in the widening well of a fawn’s iris at night
in the turning back and in the finding—

the sweet smell behind the shed
where a pinch of violets squeezes through the fence.


I’m in the parking lot behind the condo,
face tilted toward a blue June sky framed
by a fringe of leaves, green as a caterpillar.
This scene must be fiction, I think,—
a hand-painted plate or a child’s crayon drawing—

when I hear the rotors, then see it, insect-like,
buzzing across the canvas toward Children’s Hospital.
Inside its thorax, perhaps a baby from Albion,
blue-lipped and gasping for air, who fell into the deep-end
just as her mother turned away, or a farm boy
who followed his dog onto the highway
without noticing the 18-wheeler bearing down,
who won’t open his eyes when his father calls his name,

lifted closer to that cerulean than I want to imagine,
a sailboat parting the Caribbean to white sheets
and gauze curtains, a cool drink, a soft hand on a forehead,
and, with any luck, a painting of this June sky
outside the window on the 10th floor.
Excerpted from Open Wide, The Eye from Coffeetown Press.
Do not reprint without permission from the publisher. Copyright © 2016