In my dreams, it’s always the tableau vivant, her arm
an arabesque of porcelain against the sheening damask.
The red hair burning like coiled copper wire
at the end of sleep’s long dark hallway.
Down on Detroit the Greyhound station is teeming
with life, so many comings and goings
as if the city were a room to be walked into or out of.
The fat woman with her stern face and trash bags full of secrets glowers
like a matriarch from her perch in the blank space between the streetlights.
I could measure beauty in half truths and still
never in my life feel this honest.
Thirty-one years and these hands are as idle
as an empty cigarette case, fingers that remember in stains:
a long and solitary train ride, the platform of lessons taught by the body.
The art of gathering flesh the way a milliner gathers yards of silk,
pinning and tucking the feathers and lace to recreate
the memory of a lady’s hat on a hot summer afternoon.
A laugh on the breeze tinkling like the trees shaking
February from their branches.
The arteries of this city rupture and bleed asphalt.
A ruined mansion, unwilling to surrender its ghosts.