This month of your birth
Read more "September Again"
has crept in upon me again,
slipped over the window sill
and into the corner of my room
where a perfect square of moonlight
seems to have up taken residence
and, outside, where the birds,
a whole choir of them, whose names
you never bothered to learn even when
mother recited them over and over again
as she pointed to the secret places
she thought they were hiding
under eaves or in the tangled branches,
are singing their hearts out
as she would always say then
and where now the boisterous cicadas
are joining in that twilight overture
It is true. I hated my father’s
Read more "Parent & Child"
reptilian toenails, thick,
ridged, battered, as if remnants
Of an armor plating that had failed
To protect him from the world,
And below that barreled belly,
those thin measled shins,
Spotted with their mysterious
Purple bruises, and his deep snoring
As annoying as the buzzing of a large fly
trapped in a tight room
That was my childhood
Recurring nightmare. I still remember
The day I looked down at him
Seeing for the first time
A small man.
on the pinnacles
they take flight from high perches
and catch currents
Read more "Vespers"
scanning for carrion
One can never prepare enough
For such surprise visits as this
One that must have flown in
Through a window left open
By mother, or was it me
Or by both our common longing
To see the ones that we missed
At such a time so punctured
By distance and an unquiet kind of silence
Which weighs more than all the burdens
That keep us keeping our lives and loves
Read more "Midnight blackbird"
She’s tethered to me, I’m lashed to you,
you’re snapped onto him, and he’s
gone, all gone.
I suppose we’re all goners
in the Let’s-Make-An-Us game,
no longer able to start a match anew,
toting our baggage along—
or unreal ideals that we steal
from the stories we hear.
The need to pair starts at the atom.
Read more "Atomic Ghosts"
We’re just adhering to nature—
free-radical reactions taking what we need
from what we next rub up against,
The day so far: still searching for that epic.
Seafaring? Great mystery of the shadowy deep?
Cataclysm? The earth opening beneath my feet?
No, just the measured stillness that slides
out of my pencil one word at a time.
The vision of my old friend, fresh from cataract surgery,
saying he can once again enjoy looking
at the stars, “connecting the dots.”
A modest return to wonder, the windows washed,
the old universe swimming into view,
Read more "It Never Ends"
a moment of darkness and silence and the awe
of retracing an old riddle, finding north,
I do not know how it is possible
not to pause, to stop, to listen
when a single bird’s first notes
suddenly rise above the subtle hum
of the city’s opening or to ignore
the wonder when one spring day
descends unexpectedly to revive
this town in the midst of winter.
I do not know how to sing praises
as wholeheartedly as the throng
of crows gathered at the crown
of a leaf-barren tree whose cants
seem like cacophony to me
but must be the joyful noises
that they were made to sing.
I do not know how.
Read more "How"
It is not 1973
Read more "Summer of 1973"
it is 2020 and all roads are
blocked but back in the summer
of my right thumb when the roads ran free
I was $120 and a clean knapsack westbound
on US 33 smack-dab in the middle of Ohio
thumb out on my 19th birthday oh I made time
up to northern Michigan the first night
a campfire an art student Moira
who had clouds of curls she said
All art is Eros I thought Oh till I drank
like a teenager so sulked north
into Canada and the scorched dust
of the prairies stuck stuck stuck
3 days just west of Winnipeg
then into the clear cool of the Canadian Rockies
Though he’s male
they call for a female officer
who pulls him from his car
seat then lays him
on a steel table
and opens his blanket
unzips his onesie
with the lions and giraffes
slips the undershirt over his head
tears open the Velcro straps
removes his diaper
lifts his body up
with gloved hands
Read more "Christmas at Dixon Women’s Prison"
holds him in the air
like a wet cat
while I search for signs of life
on all my devices
so many ways to stay silent
presumes you’re coming back
if only in dreams or memories
maybe that’s why I continue
Read more "Ghosts"
to play these games
in reality they actually can
and he cannot