The Space You Left

I never knew if you mowed in a way to intimidate me

Always the same

Doing it backwards, so you had to stand in the flower bed

With the petals like sheets twisted up and away from your figure

Looking out in secret to see if I’d lost interest

My low chaos cut vertically, the chaos that’s left turned into reeds or papyrus

for tiny intrigues, undisguised and ridiculous

The path you were accustomed to tread

To make quick exits, never following the line of the land itself

Disappeared as monotony spread.



I Can’t Measure


I can’t measure

Everything you bring me

No matter how much burden

Seems to weigh on your soul

Your soul may be growing

Or shrinking

Its dimensions

Are a mystery worth considering

But its boundary

Is not self-repeating

In fact, the only true measure I can give it

Is absolute value

Which is infinite


Concrete Problem

You could never pile things properly

You clothing was scattered like it knew

You wouldn’t return to the same location.

You never built anything but were always planning

Someone offered you 10 cinder blocks

And the two of you spent an afternoon

Carrying them just to test your manhood

“Where should I put them?” he asked you.

“Anywhere,” you answered, and that’s where they landed

At weird angles, as if blown over by God’s infants

I can’t make anything of them

Except as an art exhibit

Or a hole punishing plants for trespassing

The blocks are numbered, more confused than ever

Someone somewhere should have a husband with the rest

If we got together we’d build a wall or patio

And pretend we understand you

By reading petroglyphs.

The blocks you bought for the cat

With letters of the alphabet

I hope he’s reading this

I used to find the consonants

Backed into corners

But totally unable to hiss

Our cat had an order to his madness

You insisted “Just look at the way he stares at it”

“He knows its purpose and I know his”

Like him, I know what’s up 

And you’re not it.


The Crows Left

Those crows you tried to catch

And make me eat for your own reasons

They never left

They land outside the window

And stare right through me

Thinking I look like you

I refused to eat them, will not til I’m beaten

Though I walk in my garden

Waving at them.

Last night I hanged the clothes you left

With cartoon clothespins, shirt above the pants

To see if they would leave or ambush you.

I know so many couples meet

Because their faces seem familiar

But with these intrigues against you

Plus my crow brothers

I have replaced you completely.


Recipes To Calm Me

 You left these recipes to calm me

They seem a bit like messages you left without their endings

You said life is a definite process, so relish it.

Even the order of ingredients seemed meant to send me

Into paroxysms of seeking, so that shopping seemed thrilling

Starting at the exit and crushing cigarettes between my fingers

And the instant I left the script and let nature do its thinking

The sense that I was doing something vital, sacrificial 

Almost slowed my breathing

Fire now turned rarified and sent me to its center

It made me wonder if the lists you never finished

Turned molten, filled the dishes

Til there was one dish left with all things in it.



What you left the earth

Left for me

Left for anyone lost and using GPS technology

Was a space where a life or tree should stand instead

A bump of earth of just such width 

It forms one spaceship’s worth of gravity

 Transmitting faintly, steadily, as if an alien dropped its locator

A capsule of old baseball cards and childish space Ids

Medals for imaginary generals and soldiers in their company

Little things you seemed to want the world to see

And wonder, like Martians, what happened to such people

Who lived but then left suddenly, 

collecting their things and leaving quietly, 

As if to meet another alien military


One day, you told me, some scientist or hobbyist

Especially anyone who missed a life like this

Will get suspicious, check the internet

Come and try to dig up proof that life exists 

in spaces on the boundary


So you left this space as an offer to curiosity

Proof of what you saw once when space grew endlessly

Things small enough for a child to invoke infinity.

And still the shape of the interface has some uncertainty.

One part of the space you left

Sits still unspent outside of me.


Uncountable Nouns

The jar is empty

You blame me

You didn’t eat a single one

And I don’t believe you

Those jellybeans were tiny

Crushed and stuck together

Half and partial jellybeans really

You said you knew how many existed

Exactly. I admit you won the jar for something

So why didn’t you eat them?

You and those people have an agreement

Which has no reason

Now the jar is empty

A gift though, not an accusation.


What We Can’t See

What we look at is far too complex for what we see

So we have to make the visible invisible to achieve simplicity

The way a camera exposes itself, hours on end

So long that what’s left is whatever stayed waiting behind the scenes

The way Newton pierced his own eye socket

To see a limited spectrum which only prisms consider light’s elements

Or how phantom cosmological masses block light 

from every star which has no longer existed

Reductio ad absurdum stares at one small point in the distance

Hoping to achieve perspective, while

Expecting that 1 same spot to contain an invisible universe.


Dan Gallagher is a former professor with 20+ years experience in publishing, tv, and new media.

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