Friday, December 31, 2010
Time Times Temperature
Not just twelve degrees
but twelve degrees below zero.
The cold etches its lace
on the window glass.
The patio door gets locked
without a key.
The water pipes
are sluggish as an old man’s arteries.
I would get up and go to bed
but the New Year is over an hour away
and the mantle clock quit chiming
minus two degrees ago.
Friday, December 24, 2010
All That’s Left of the World
“I understand you have a rare volume of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”
“Indeed we do.”
“What makes it so scarce?”
“The pages are blank.”
“All of the pages?”
“Every one of them.”
“What’s on the title page?”
“Not a word.”
“Then how do you know it’s a copy of Silent Spring?”
“Like I said, all the pages are blank.”
“Is this a joke?”
“We think it was, one that Carson herself perpetrated on the scientific community.”
“Do you have any other proof that Carson had anything to do with this book?”
“It smells like DDT.”
“Are you serious?”
“Well, there’s also the signature.”
“I thought you said the pages were blank.”
“Oh, I should have guessed.”
“Would you like to see the volume?”
“What’s there to see?”
“Well, nothing except a sterile metaphor for a post-pesticide world.”
“Is that all?”
“That, and a sense of humor.”
Friday, December 17, 2010
As the Great Blue Heron lands
every small thing
turns perfectly still.
Its great blue shadow
sends shivers across the pond.
It wades to the depth
of its spindly legs
then transforms itself
narrow head with a yellow beak.
As the sun tilts
in the silt impatience blinks.
Friday, December 10, 2010
The trash barrel smolders all night.
Embers fanned by a breeze
escaping the inferno
float loose across the snow.
They are paper sails,
drifting like burning kites.
As each ember cools
it falls like a wishing star.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I went to a home improvement center to buy insulation. My friends tell me if I stick it under my house, I’ll be warmer. I hadn’t done this before, so I was happy when a sales associate stopped to ask if I had any questions.
“Why does all your insulation look like giant rolly polly bugs.”
“They’re trying to stay warm.”
“That’s what I thought, like caterpillars, preparing for a new life.”
“Actually, I’m kidding. Insulation gets shipped to us that way. It saves space during transportation.”
“So none of these will metamorphose into something beautiful if, say, I buy a dozen rolly pollies and stick them into my dark crawl space?”
“Nope, sorry to say, unless you consider lower heating costs a transformation.”
“How many would I have to buy for you to guarantee at least one will turn into a giant butterfly?”
“Fiberglass is inanimate, it can’t metamorphose.”
“Maybe you lack faith.”
“How long have you been a homeowner?”
“I just bought my first house. That’s why I’m here at the home improvement center, to make my home more beautiful.”
“I’m sorry, insulation is not beautiful.”
“So does it turn into something ugly?”
“You’ll experience an incessant itch after handing it.”
“That’s not good.”
“And your eyes will water for days.”
“My allergies would be unbearable. Is there another department that would provide a warmer experience?”
“I’d recommend aisle five, electrical and lighting.”
“Is that where they keep the fireflies?”
“Oh yeah, thousands of them.”
“You’ve been very kind.”
“Thank you, and please, insist that Joe helps you, he owes me.”