Ordinary Time

Subway preacher’s
din of truth, he pities
us, each and every

redundancy, day in
day out through tunnels,
boxes on a chain

Dios mio, Dios mio
faces flicker in frames
each in his own office.




· · ·




Colicky boy, no
words for what he knows
he needs to hush

some insistence
in his lungs, raw

cleft from another
and thrown
into his own form.




· · ·




Riddled awake
by my own pulse,
I unfold from another—

sleep’s cloud of things
in general, waking
full of distinctions

almost noiseless
in the dark, their edges
against my skin.




· · ·




what the hand can be said
to know, the particular

weight of error
an opaque body in
the light of an idea

or the sun, a gesture
casting a shadow
on the sidewalk.




· · ·




I mistook something
for someone else,
shadow for partner—

an error, a flutter
between one and
one, likeness

a ghost—plastic bag
for a bird, a bare piling
for a man in the river.




· · ·




Beside me in half-
dark, illegible,
she dreams herself

apart, day’s current
ceaseless beneath sleep’s
muffled forms,

familiar refrains
become postures
I only guess at.




· · ·




Hours, breaths—
what I know known
only by counting

the ways they line
themselves up, nothing
to say that’s mine

or yours—pull
through like desire
without intention.




· · ·




Afternoon blank
as a cataract, the heat
held still while

men at dominoes
keeping up the count
play end to end

for nothing, tinny
mambo from a radio
six stories up.




· · ·




My body’s awake
but dreaming’s reel
of pictures still

flickers on the actual
wall, inarticulate
and almost like us—

something behind
semblance, a transom
flushed with light.




· · ·




Sirens lift into the
courtyard, pounding
concrete and each

other, signals
repeated until their
urgency dissipates

and the city’s shift
of sound carries
the particulars away.

Patrick Morrissey (© 2013)