Sunday, August 7, 2016

small poem (revised from a few years back)

Dewdrop, dewdrop,
jewel of a leaf,
teardrop world,
bright and brief.

Chime and glister,
sparkle, diamond, star,
harmonic flicked
from God's guitar.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pencil In Time

I see what I couldn't see
at eight--my grandpa's
strength, a youngness
compared to older days
(sharp with proximity)--
and what I always saw,
the giant hands,
marvelously knuckled.
I hope one day to work
such storied hands.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

31, Epilogue

The year I lost the horizon--
could not see
the sky's relation to the earth.

Year I moved downstairs,
gained a yard and roses
which somehow reminded me
to miss my grandpa.

Year they tore out the fencerow--
end of many
youthful pilgrimages--
and my mother moved away.

Withdrawing year--
a sort of death
without funeral,
without body to face the east.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Washing the Woodwork

Many times I empty
the powder gray water,
renew a puddle of soap
at the base of the bowl
and run it under the tap,
watching a cap of suds
rise inches above the rim.

In places the dust piles
or sticks like a stain,
especially near the square
of latticed vent which blew
warmth up our pant legs
and ballooned our shirts
in extravagant coziness
under high, chill ceilings.
If we weren't careful,
the old wallpaper left skids
of white powder on our backs.

I work the rag over rolls and grooves,
trace simple petal lines and
the serrated crowns above door frames.
So many doorways--
three in the tiny square entry
(leaving a wall for the stained glass window),
six in the living room,
five in the kitchen--
though not all open.

It is familiar, this smell of soap and dust
and empty room, like when we moved in.
Nineteen years of life and death
and we are moving out--
like the man who lay in state in the round room,
like the woman who baked him a pie
(every day!),
like the little boy who came back old (eighty)
to see his grandparents' house
and the place they kept the cookie jar.

There are more doors here
than I can number;
memories thicker than dust,
more tender than
the hang nail on my thumb
against the rag and the water.

Monday, June 27, 2016


The curious cheer
of a gold finch's chirrup

The jolt of a pale fish's lunge
out of/into mystery

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Jump

Six or seven and
my first time
on a horse--
an old thing
who ambled
and stopped
on his own.
Impatient for the
younger, faster option,
I traded the old gentleman
for my turn
on the rogue.
He wasn't, really--
only confused
by my amateur sawing
at the bit.
Pull back evenly!
They called from the fences
as Chico's hooves
thudded faster
and my best efforts
fell woefully short.
It was embarrassing, mostly,
so I bailed--
swung left leg over
and shoved off.
Given how fast he got
before my uncle calmed him
at the pasture's far end,

it was (probably)
the best decision
(other than preemptively
learning how to ride).

These days,
it is too easy to bail . . .
and I'm the one who has to
go and catch that horse.