A lonely man sets himself on fire —
a furloughed woman drives right into the armory.
Santa Ana winds rise in a heat wave.
Ginkgo leaves, dying green to green,
burn in the autumnal dark,
so do not risk a cigarette.
I hear the buds of a Chinese Bee Tree
drum the sidewalk in code
as black phoebes in the eucalyptus,
mottled sleeves of risk-averse
cut their wings in relief at nine o’clock,
ninety degrees, ninety-one —
while we drone on about a debt ceiling.
As the heat rises, so does the aversion to risk,
whether to rise or fall
with the wind
pushing the value of currency out to sea.about the author