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Perched on a crooked limb 

under secrecy of a mangrove's leaves, 

a sandhill crane fans open then 

shuts its wings, 

the movement a slow, 

startling vision 

of sinew and length, 

an empress gathering her 

robes, purple-tinged feathers 

suddenly, eternally still -- 

it sees us seeing back, 

through the dark wet tunnel 

of primordial foliage: 

an elongated vowel within 

the muscle of earth's mouth -- 

of waiting, of drawing towards, 

a performance in limbo -- 

stick legs gripping this tear 

in time, ready for dance 

or flight, that familiar suspension 

of our own artless bodies 

in the brace of fear or love


Rounding the corner at Palmer Cemetery,

loveliest part of the three mile jog, 

I glance past the black iron gate to see 

a man in scrubbed beard, hat, and surgical mask 

slowly, thoughtfully taking down 


the Christmas ornaments 

which have stayed past their welcome 

on a small, bright fir tree -- 

it's a late January afternoon 

when no onlooker stands to be cheered 


by feathered and felt baubles, now signaling

the underside to anticipation and joy. 

Obsolescence of better times. 

Now here we are, days' darknesses 

underfoot, and still going. I run past and 

the man seems frozen in place, 


as I sometimes wish for things 

to be. The next hour to stretch 

farther away. For sleep to trickle on. 

The sun announces its brief solace 

onto Fishtown sidewalks and sills 

as my brain busies itself on its own 

breathless tangents. Resistance to 

being. Hounding conflicts into 


concrete, entreating the enigma 

of stillness with lungs' ebb and flow. 

But it stays elusive, squirreled 

away between the trees who 

know best how to be trees. 

And I, how only to heel-toe it, 


with dogged, mired diligence, 

where pavement never runs out. 

Grace, where space is offered 

beneath the heart's soft bruising. 

Worth, where winter's end 

remains to be seen.

The Ben Franklin

Like a sleepy mother, it bends 

holding onto two sides of a river 


rising and leaning its blue spine 

of steel over water the color 


of celestial mud, which bears 

the berth of ships hauling 


cargo containers and stacks 

barely limboing their way underneath 


the cross-marked underbelly 

of the titaness. 


The El train’s rolling clacks 

proclaims that the city 

is still living while its inhabitants 


move towards the heart 

of singular, pulsating destinations 


Taut fingers of the cables 

pull mightily with their dream of hoisting 


up even the bed of the Delaware, 

but they are spent. 


Tiny boats light upon the slow 

waves like pilgrims.

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