Pitter-Patter

It’s not torrential
or even steady,
this moderate rain,

more from the eaves than
the clouds. I’ve long closed
the blinds; I hear it,

not see it. Like
the tentative steps
of would-be visitors

killed in car crashes.

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Last Known Location of Snr Wil Flowers, Director of Intelligence, NWF

You always want it to make sense, 
Like knucklebones, like how swallowing works. 
Simple eye of mechanics developed 
Over millions of years of failure. Humans
Are the success of their failure time and time again. 
That’s whats truly alien. Truly unnatural
As the sky opens up, the black roll of stars, planets –
Some like necks on the gallows, some like an arena stage. 
The maw is the medicine with death as a common side effect. 

Then, nothing makes sense. Its a fugue state, lips dripping 
Words over delayed relays. Mission specialists
Still sitting in Ohio struck mud like American-made pigs, 
while you snort down wildlife powder and hope the TOG adaptions 
They gave you don’t go liquid in your stomach. Survival 
Rates of surgery in orbit aren’t what they used to be. 
You, your own scalpel and organ donor, doctor, and lawyer. 

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Brood Parasite

The cowbird cares only for her own
propagation. Nest-stealer, child-trader.
A clutch of brown-spotted eggs
sheltered elsewhere. The cowbird
merely uses what others have created.
Others raise her children.
Others feed her young.
If her child stabs a fragile fledging
from the colonized species
with a beak that hungers for more,
this is no injustice. The cowbird is not evil.
Survival is a promise of life, not a tragedy
to mourn.

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Trees

We walk up the hill
slowly
not sure how far deep
our feet will sink.

It is just December
and the day is bright
the pines and fir and spruce
are everywhere.

We raise our heads
from the new trail to see their heights
some look store bought
even though they have never been inside.

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Bodies

after you cut
down the dead
trees
the field yawns
and gives for the first
time in twenty years
a glimpse
of red beyond the shuddering
loblollies—decaying
metal and wood teeth
the remains of man’s work

no life except
a gray body
shell of hollow skin

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Satisfied To Be Us

To be anywhere in the world
in any weather, to hold a book
like a child does and [moving] moves
from here to the flanks of the Vosges,
stares at a fresco by Piero
or hears an aria float out from a window
on the Coronation Route in Prague.

How fine it is to be us, to be
on the water, our thoughts as slippery,
as fluid, our moods like gusts [of dopamine]
little zephyrs of enticement,
our happiness rising and setting
with the sun, the bright seal of hope
the dimming lamp of rest.

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A Frozen Europe

Urban II, post coitus, made enquiries
into the etymology of escutcheon.
He barked instructions towards the Pleiades,
as was his most holy remit,
his casus belli, if you will.

God’s own genetic mandate made flesh.
In gowns of velvety purpurates,
semi-tumesence tenting his muslin cassock.
His slippers velour. Brocade of satin.
The usual finery designating position.
A high seat assigned at privilege’s table.

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Hockey Smell Poem

Clubs you like a rank bludgeon,
it does. It’s in the hallways, waiting
at the elevator doors. Smell
like an elbow bent six years
and peeled open. Shelled
spongy scruff, a man-shed oyster
rot. Yet
that stink, like the sea’s,
is rich with promise. It’s not all
charnel. On every tide an elegance
of power in skaters
fast as gulls and as fierce.

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At my parents’ house on the one-month anniversary of my sister’s death, which is also the three-year anniversary of September 11th

it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change.
On the warm ground snow falls all day,
fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but
with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of
What for, why, how can this be.
There’s a hum. I can’t hear right.
This silence is deafening.
I hate snow.

A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home.
The door’s knob wore down and fell off.
The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind.
A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby.
They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a
synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter.

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