Red Coat with Black Fur Trim
So everyone’s got a red coat with black fur trim.
Blood on the inside’s blue, hair the thin thought
of some cells leftover from the last onslaught of wind
and sun, mutant squirrels whose bare tails shiver and sit up
in the brain thinking: grow, grow, grow. Who knows
what parts are leaving me now, an eternal bad market
that ought to have made its bid, bought and sold
whatever it needed that I stay whole. Or at least
that’s what I said to grandmother in line
at the bank, bag quivering full of her faithless money,
hands enviable angora gloves, cupping the cold
between their thin fibers. Couldn’t you say just
it was cold? I don’t like losing my hair
to an internal cause? Wish for something
else: that money never cared for me,
I found a coat that used me to warm and move
its satin innards, made me a proud, poor blue-blood, another
ruddy unproductive cup, a shame, a sham, a hole.
Blue Fur Collar Coat
Dear blue animal, we thank you for
The fur that lays around our necks. And yet,
the sun that rims the clouds is just a cavity
in the making, so we cannot say with truth
we know your blueness gamboling near a frosted
lake, or taking a furtive leak in a tropical alley.
Are we getting closer? The evidence says
against; the light says your hair is old and clumped,
from some dumb dim place I can’t remember,
some long-ago tearing of you from your muscles
and you lay there poured, done on the snow.
We only have the skin to keep warm.
Or I’ve got it: I bet you slipped the noose, and
it is just your faux hair, the way my eyes are rimmed
with bone and therefore look only ahead:
I’m sorry. The cold tore down. I needed to get
in front of me, and I needed a way to go.
Vintage Black Coat with Fox Fur Buttons
So when some old-time vixen slim says so
the camera winks its awful shattering light and life
is over: liquid and stiff we are forever
caught like 1929 cats, blind and angry, bodies
blurred and eyes revealed as naked, see-through
organs, odd and ugly cups of water
shined on, dipped in, unsaved except for in
some fading box of photographs, the slick-haired
fox fur buttons on the attic’s dim
impoverished tea party, condoms shoved into
the pockets, impossible to imagine grandmother’s
slippery body, svelte, then wrecked, then gone
between the clothes: her teeth were fixed. Her laugh
was happy. Hair was thin. Like some pelt hung
on the fence, I can tell you nothing but inquire within:
the black wool, furred, and baggy bodied soul.
published in Indiana Review