Her 2nd birthday spent in Montauk
She is the ocean – smooth
as undertow (and faster).
The sand-yanked shore
and the moon’s bold center.
A bubble on a wave
5th Grade Algebra: a reunion of broken parts
Lay down your pencil. Come, play a puppet show with me.
Algebra can wait. Constants don’t grow; the equation reaches
the solution every time. But not you
And I can’t wait. I no longer know
which negatives solve positive. Your shoulders
square, a right angle with your hips. You’re teeming
with variables. Come, paint a picture with me.
A one-windowed house with a squirrel in its tree.
Come now, before this moment is swallowed by algebra.
Rest in my lap; I’ll curl my fingers in your hair.
Your chin grows narrow in the lamplight and I can’t
find the equivalent fraction.
It was a long winter and now
the hydrangea won’t bloom.
The deer, half-starved,
ate the laurels to the ground.
Still, the geranium shakes
the dogwood so we think of things
She tests her limits
tumbling through the marigolds.
Behind her the dogwoods turn
down their leaves. Next year,
the hydrangea will come
She will be there, too.
With dirt on her
fingers and scrapes
on her knees. She will press
geraniums to her nose
because they smell
These ideas, they winter
laid out in rows
under the sun or waving
in clusters from a hillside.
Alongside the girl you kissed
first, the violin I never played.
Originally appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal, October 2014