Toward the North

This is a season unspent:
there will be snow yet and storms.
Today’s cold recalled
a mere discomfort
and the bite of this wind, but a kiss.

If I prophesy spring
will you pretend to believe me?
We can blanket each other
in warmth for a time.

With the moment eclipsed
by the cold truths of winter,
will you smile me strong
as I frown toward the north?


In the gray now a man tries to remember
head pressed to a window
he pulls a finger down fog

deer run in the distance
white-tailed departures
through a slit between breathes

before the close, a hint of color
the flight of a finch, or a leaf mid-turn


The soul resides mid-breast;
I know it.
It speaks from there
in a pained voice,

dull and in defiance of reason;
devoid of cause,
it seeks a purpose for the day,

for its place there,
and finds nothing
but a cavity—

meat, destined to decay,

and feels the press of time
upon the bloody lungs of its vessel.

Kenning at the Feet of a God

Before us stand the mockings of a god:
Sound shapes and divine invocations,
the sun itself a yellow yawn,
the chaff of a hidden harvest,
a field of golden connotation
denoting bread for the soul.
And grounded pigeons,
too fat to flee or fly
peck sweet sustenance
from saturated air,
wise enough to wonder.
Fools of fate,
fortunate friends of a god.

The Well

[First appeared in The Avalon Literary Review, Fall 2014]

My well runs deep and dry;
pebble-bottomed pit,
broken glass among the rocks,
the occasional coin, some sad soul’s wish
left in the company of cold, dry, stone.

I would if prompted recount a fiction
of strangers passing, full buckets, and refreshment;
of the joys of spring, a shaded canopy
and welcome offerings.

Redact the sunlit horror
of spitting children and the piss
of careless parents.

Their monstrous visage increased by time;
lifelessly growing, refusing to die
with fonder recollection; lost,
like meager moisture hoarded,
hidden, then dried.

Keeping Watch

The park that sold this house
is still there outside my window.
Our kids are grown,
but that patch of ground is never empty.
Each year supplies a new face or two
bold enough to approach our joke of a fence
and greet the great beasts that are their silent protectors,
the latest generation to walk the failing pickets and watch.