It’s not irreducible—
birth, death, the stuff in the middle,
the fluff we focus on, the touches ignored.
I hope to burn some day and feel it
then be lifted by air.
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
through a slit between breathes
before the close, a hint of color
the flight of a finch, or a leaf mid-turn
She cares too much,
I care too little,
there’s little I can add.
Call her if you care to,
It hardly matters
In the back yard
under a tree
two dogs lie sleeping
an ear twitches
at the buzzing of a fly
or in a minute
maybe an hour
I’ll shift my gaze
to a falling leaf
or a shooting star.
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.
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.
[First appeared in The Avalon Literary Review, Fall 2014]
My well runs deep and dry;
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.
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.
Niggles and nags make for hours unending,
years appear moments that stealthily flee,
squandering days unaware of the spending,
slow to discover that no time is free.
An aging sun sits atop a clear horizon,
birds bicker over bright things in the grass.
A coyote claims a slow deer
near the river
and snarling shares his prize
among the pack.
Rough commerce on the lake shore,
muskrat and coon.
The French want furs
and we can deliver,
let the Ho-Chunk and Shawnee be damned.
The lakefront glows, as does the river,
a new sun sits unnoticed in the east.
Ceres is a proud bitch,
blind to all encroachment.
Coyotes bide their time
among the weeds.