I do see some little gray birds

I do see some little gray birds

like cars from a sunken

ferry bobbing in the sea.

All I ask is where are the mountains

Nick and I watched catch on fire

last night from the shore of New Jersey?

They were these very buildings, but you'll

never convince me of that—

the skyline consumed by last

light, furious, from that

other world. In a blinding heat

I consume myself, spit

little black plumes from my

mouth. I move

backwards. A shadow

flickers in the underbrush

like why must the day's record

end and leave me

in silence, in patches of street

light strains too.

A single tree in the woods burns red I imagine

A single tree in the woods burns orange, I imagine,

because I haven't been watching

any movies lately, or the scrap yard across the river—

how organized that death

in the creeping light of the world.

You're a great guy Brad but I need... the billboard says—

to hurtle through this infinite autumn air,

though no hand has thrown me,

no screaming and intimate disaster draws me

to the window even to spy on the neighbors—

the woman who, always, in the midst of their fights, pauses

to light, gently, with a match, her husband's cigarettes.

Am I her angel? Yes. With all my brain I will protect you,

lady, bitterly and for no reason except your daughter

is young and in school. I want something small

to make of the world, like an apple that's really

a bird startled red.

photo by Amber Jarvis

poems by MRB Chelko