John James

There’s no logic to the shoots of garlic
jutting from a box, the melons changing hands.

The city is a web of profligate coins 
bleeding from pocket to pocket.

Popsicles dissolve on the porch.

When your father dies you plant an alphabet.
It sprouts. You harvest and try to make a language.

When the language doesn’t work 
you sew the vowels in your throat.

I’d forgotten all about the red plums.

In the hallways of childhood there is no ascent, 
no staircase to float from regret.

You walk until the wood gives out.
You prune the dead skin with your thumb.