Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Worded

I Can't Hold the Door Forever

For as long as I can remember
the gate has been latched
with rusty barbed wire.
All I have to do

is put a little pressure on
the top rail and step through
the opening that yawns like a portal.
All the animal spirits that have

ever grazed here greet me.
When I let the rail go, the gate
springs back into place
as if it hadn't been disturbed,

assaulted by no force
more insistent than weather. 
Anyone can see
this used to be a pasture.

The fence posts are leaning too,
and I could have stepped across
the sagging wire
easily as skipping a rope.

The deer know, and every other
animal that congregates
in these half wild places.
We choose our openings.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Worded

The Other Shoe

When my father fell
nobody spoke of endings. 
They said, Ouch! and
Is he alright?
but nobody mentioned mortality
because nobody knew.

He’d always gotten back up,
so for three months took aspirin
and complained about arthritis.
He wouldn’t see a doctor
until the pain of trying to stand
quelled his rage.

When they showed him the x-ray
he pretended to understand
how a surgeon could fix his hip
but maybe he knew all along,
and it just took ninty-four years
plus three months to decide
it was time to go.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekly Worded


If This Is a Test, I Failed

Two fronts converged
in the sky.
The barometer fell
off the wall.
I couldn’t remember
which corner
of the house was the safest
so I just sat down
on the floor,
pulled a pillow
from a chair
and curled up
like a question mark.
I thought about
how my life
is punctuated by
questions, how
I never know
what’s right, even
without an emergency.
The air outside
was suddenly so still
I could hear a child
crying next door.
Maybe the wind
came up, maybe
the sound of a train
rushed through the house
with its string of exclamations.
All I know is
I fell asleep
and when I woke
I still had questions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Worded

A Field Guide to Dreams

Fall asleep
and a region of the brain opens.
It’s wild
but it’s not wilderness.
Identify any tracks
to be sure they were made
that day, or the day before.
Forget about proper supplies,
but be ready to step aside
when what approaches
turns ugly.
Sometimes you must run,
or running, fall.
Pick up the stones
worn smooth as teeth.
If the frustration of not finding
a safe path wakes you,
stare at the starless ceiling
above your bed
until you are familiar again
with your body.
Tug the bed sheet
tight against your chin
and in this makeshift tent
wait for sunrise.