Friday, March 7, 2014
The storm this morning at 4 a.m.
woke me from a deep sleep,
tossed me onto my back
so I couldn’t help staring at its dark belly.
It took me a full minute to understand
I was safe, but by then the wind
whipped up its own little nightmare,
stripping limbs from the trees
as if splitting a stump into kindling.
By the sound of it
the moon that had been packed away
behind a thick padding of clouds
shattered as it struck the side of the house.
I sat up, pulled my blanket closer
for the sake of all the fragile things.
Friday, February 28, 2014
“May I help you find something?”
“I’m looking for a pair of pants for my father-in-law.”
“Follow me and I’ll show you our popular Fits-Like-a-Glove style.”
“No, he hates pants that are too tight.”
“How about our Ifs, Ends, and Butts designer slacks?”
“Are they comfortable?”
“Not terribly, but that’s not why our customers buy them.”
“So why do they buy them?”
“For the little beeper that goes off when they back up.”
“No, that doesn’t sound right for him.”
“We have a sale on our Get-Crackin’ blue jeans.”
“He has enough trouble without his pants announcing it.”
“How about Baggy-Saggies?”
“Actually, he wears suspenders.”
“You must be shopping for someone more traditional.”
“Do you carry anything with a relaxed fit?”
“I don’t like to show them, but we do carry a line called The Retired-Fit.”
“What are they like?”
“Basically, just a pair of sweatpants with a drawstring.”
“Do they come in large sizes?”
“Sorry, only one-size-fits-all, but we’ve had up to four clerks in a single pair.”
“They must be comfortable.”
“Only the woman complained.”
Friday, February 21, 2014
Between my fingers
everything I try to hold.
Between my ribs
each heartbeat that escapes.
Between my walls
the restless mice.
Between my ears
the sense my mother
hoped I'd use.
Between my days
the sleepless nights.
Between the nights
an unexpected nap.
Between my hips
an ache that rises.
Between my sorrows
a Cheshire moon.
Between my lips
Between my eyes
a bridge I do not cross.
Between my teeth
where worry waits.
Friday, February 14, 2014
"Do you know what I hate the most about Valentine’s Day?"
"I mean the tradition of Valentine’s Day."
"I’m referring to its cultural mores."
"Oh, I get it. Those little chalky candy hearts with messages on them."
"Will you stop with all the banalities and get down to its basic meaning!"
"I suppose, then, you are about to complain about love."
"You hit the bulls-eye, cupid."
"What on earth is wrong with love?"
"What I’m trying to say is that I love my grandmother, but..."
"Oh, I see."
"And I love my dog."
"I get the picture."
"It’s so easy to confuse love with sex."
"So you're on your own again?"
"And you don’t have any plans for the evening?"
"And you’d like to know if I have any plans?"
"I’m going to dinner with a friend, we’ll exchange banalities, and then..."
"Would you like to come along?"
"I’m no pervert!"
"I mean just drive the car like a chauffeur."
"Why on earth would I do that?"
"I’ll buy you a bag of those candy hearts."
"I hope your teeth rot."
"You’d rather be alone?"
"I’ll be walking my dog."
"Good. Where are you two going?"
"To my grandmother’s house."
Friday, February 7, 2014
How thrifty to think
all the words ever spoken
even beyond three generations
of relatives I might recognize,
all the way back
to the original family
that sat down at these planks
still gleaming with oils from a living tree
are somehow trapped within this old table,
or that the pattern of grain
etched within this oak might bare
an imprint or watermark
absorbed by its breathing pores --
timeless and permanently locked away
like the music of the spheres
inaudible to our ears if not for
the birds that light in the morning,
singing what the wood would say.
Friday, January 31, 2014
The bottom is the usual place
to find the mark that says
who made you,
not obscured by the patina
I see each morning in the mirror,
proof I’ve been handled by peasants,
the oils on their fingers
leaving whorls like the eddies
of country streams.
Like the moon
that waxes and wanes,
I barely shine long enough
to see my own worth.
Whoever knows who made me
must not care anymore,
but here I am all the same,
a vessel like a piece of pottery
thrown on a wheel
as wide as the universe
where the hands are not mine
but I feel them.
Friday, January 24, 2014
“Is there anything perishable, flammable, or hazardous inside?”
“No, it’s just a book.”
“Would you like to purchase tracking with this package?”
“Will I have to wear a bracelet on my ankle?”
“No, but you’ll be able to follow the delivery.”
“Isn’t that like stalking?”
“Tracking is legal, it shows you when your shipment arrives.”
“Will I be able to see her expression when it shows up?”
“No, there’s no camera.”
“Just to hear her gasp as she unwraps the package will be enough.”
“Sorry, tracking doesn’t include a microphone.”
“How will I know when it gets there?”
“You’ll have to log into our website.”
“But I don’t own a computer.”
“You can access our services with your cell phone.”
“But I ran out of minutes.”
“Why not check at the public library?”
“No library card?”
“Of course I have a library card!”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“That’s where the book came from.”