2016.

outbound B line

if it were nice out I could've walked,
like in the summer, like when the
reservoir glistened and glowered and
curved around to South street.
if it were nice out I could've stayed
late, maybe walked a little longer, ducked
into the Cleveland Circle yard where
everything hummed. I waited with my hood
up, snow glistening and glowering on the
outbound B line tracks. if only it had been
nice out, I could've walked, shaken off
those feelings, shaken off the snowflakes
gathering around my boots. I stood still.

inbound D line

there are photos of the Riverside platform at
night, in the rain, where I was often alone and
waiting for the inbound train. I'd save them
with lyrics or sayings about ghosts, wondering
if the water from Wellesley Falls was following
me home or if I'd ever come back. that platform
was the first I ever visited, my first trips to Boston,
and maybe the ghosts I saw by the benches
were ghosts of my younger self. the last train
would take me home, speeding, and we'd move
through the woods like mist: all of us, my
ghosts all together in the same place at
the same time, ringing the bell at the city line.

outbound C line

our train caught fire one summer. it burned
from Causeway and we wondered, glanced, but
nothing happened until Englewood and there
was smoke. we felt bad for laughing, for taking
photos, for smiling when the conductor
asked to use your phone. the outbound C, my
favorite train, suddenly giving us a few more
blocks to walk. the stars were out. you took
me up Sutherland to my doorway. I don't
remember anything else save for the
streetlights, the giggling passersby, and
the smoke, from your cigarette and from
the train burning down the street.


somehow, still

I remember feeling the grass on the esplanade
where you landed, on your back, with a book held up
toward the sky. I wrote a bunch of words about how most
people go but some people stay, like you. I put them
with a picture of you on the grass, where you landed,

and hung them at my desk. I still see sunglasses,
a train ride, reading the words over and over and
over on the day you became most people. I avoid talking
about it now. "it wasn't your fault." "it was my fault."
somehow, still, I remember feeling the grass

under my feet, crisp and cold, the sun setting over
where I ran away from the house with my head down
toward your toyota. I wrote a bunch of words, how there's
more about my family than most people know, than you
ever knew, and I gave them to my therapist. she told me

most people go but some people stay, and even
though you became most people I should somehow, still
think of you, but not often. "it wasn't your fault."
"it was my fault." "it wasn't your fault." "it's still my fault."
somehow, still, I remember feeling moonlight

hanging above us sometime between 11 and 12
where we sat, side by side, cigarettes pointed
toward the moon. I wrote a bunch of words, how we
figured it all out and I was bliss itself, and I put them in
a journal. I, bliss, became most people when I should've

done more but didn't, and then the grass, the moon, it all
disappeared. I deleted photos. I took them down. "it was my fault."
"it wasn't your fault." "it's still my fault." "it wasn't your fault."
somehow, still, I think of you but not often, which is a lie, and
somehow, still, I stare at my phone, try, trip, wait.

Maybe I just missed it, I've been doing this forever and still, everywhere I go is somewhere I don't belong. But maybe that's just how it is, that moving on means blending in and maybe now it's fair to say I had it all wrong.

A real sense of place.

boxing the compass.

you, only son, are the arrow. 

skin like a magnet and eyes lighting your city, the one that can't seem to find 
the stars, you breathe, and you direct. north by northeast to my doorway;
north by northwest to my soil; due east to the water, due north to your home.
I found you some summer, covered in rain, found my zenith thereafter 
and asked your advice.

you, only son, are their sothis.

the ink in your skin used to watch you at night, ages ago. in the middle of some summer,
they found you directing their gods: north by northeast to the ocean;
north by northwest to the sand; due east to the river, due north to who knows.
the son of orion got lost on my sidewalk while shepherding the sky, so I asked,
and I heard his advice.

you, only son, are my sirius.

too bright to be kept and too strong to be held, you are the star 
leading us all back to where we came from, back under and into your glow. 
this is why your city can't see the stars. what it lacks in astronomy it gains
in your smile on the train, your silence in the morning, your boxing the compass
and your sound advice.

Favorite.

rattle.

I got to know your heritage while I was talking to your ribcage, 
my ear on your heart; while I was listening to your blood,
flowing to the god-drawn veins in your hands. now I know why
you're so biblical, only son, the only one who's got your 
father's eyes. your blood explained how you were born 
of the lake, and I like how you've got the blue to match.

at home, my lake was to the west and yours was to the north but darling, 
I found my way east somehow, and now, I can hear the ocean.
I don't need to listen closely. I hear it on the train and I hear it 
on the sidewalk and I hear it when my ear is on your heart, when 
I'm getting to know your story and you're reminding me of home.
you remind me of the way the ocean was so far away.

the god that made you made you as an engine, purring, running 
only on lake-water, caffeine, and the salted air of new coasts.
your heart rattles in your chest as though it wants to leave.
I listened, and I got to know where your soil can be found: in the 
bottom of a lake, in the bottom of that blue, away from this ocean and 
back to where you can hear an engine sing. uninterrupted.