Ella Says and Other Poems

Ella Says

There’s no way around the grief
at endings. The autocorrect

on my daughter’s phone replaced:
“the doctors can’t find the IUD”
with “the Devil that is.”

What exquisite algorithm lands us
in the presence of demons?

I am back on my boat plotting
coral reefs and noting the tiny
numbers on charts,

fathoms deep, seconds
between oscillating lights.

No one navigates like that anymore.
We are all tethered puppets to walking stars.
Ella’s face freezes.

The signal’s too remote and there’s
a delay before we can start again.

Sonograms like deep
ocean floors, sea creatures mapped
in the body, whales singing

bats echolocating.
When green and red lights lifted

to mark a harbor’s entrance, I spotted
relief and sadness, dropped anchor, furled sails.
I tell my daughter she can always

come home. Sometimes there’s
no other way to round grief’s equations.

A Theory of Equations

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