Friday, July 29, 2016
Like a matchstick accordion
cut from one sheet of folded paper,
the picket fence stretches across my yard,
illuminating the lawn with a line
of faded white. I imagine how fresh paint
might ignite the wood with phosphorescence.
Instead, it’s a railroad track rusted by rain,
a proud set of teeth stained by coffee.
Who knows how long before it sags or falls.
Sometimes glancing out the window, I see
the long scar from a suture on my hip
fading but impossible to forget.
And if I begin, then what?
Scraping and sanding.
Priming the wood
followed by two coats.
Days devoted to this fence.
Days kneeling on the grass
muttering curses and prayers.
Untrustworthy gate, slumping hinges, clumsy latch.
The aesthetic earth which the fence divides
looks pleasant to me on both sides.
No reason for it.
Nothing to keep in or out.
It’s a Robert Frost project, something
that wants a picket fence white, that’s all.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Cycle of Shadow
That shadow, like me, just a cloud
trying to slip over Lizard Head Pass
and ride the slide into Telluride.
Minerals veined like bright bruises
trace a history’s unfortunate luck
where others pummeled into rock,
then slumped into the dark green trees.
See how those patches of snow, remnants
from winter, still dapple the highest peaks?
Once they were clouds too.
Now my backpack strains to be let down.
I’ll rest and see if this cloud makes it.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Only memory remains here,
a painted cross, a spray of flowers
in case the soul is hitchhiking
beside the road where it came
hard against traffic merging
from a different world,
one where we have so little regulation,
where the rest stops are lightyears apart,
the journey encompassing everything.
Eventually we all lose control,
dart across the line separating
fact from imagination.
Let each fatality be marked
like a pin in a map
along the rugged terrain of a heart.
Friday, July 8, 2016
Friday, July 1, 2016
for Bill Dewey
I was not consciously present,
my body slumped against the passenger door,
trying to remember where you said you'd gone
in the flick of a high beam.
Your grip on the wheel softened,
the car drifted toward
the trees then the centerline.
Headlights coming from the opposite direction.
Something woke me,
maybe a flash, a subliminal tug,
maybe my mother singing her psalms of caution
from a cathedral deep inside me.
It must have been a religious experience,
an epiphany, but I came back at that moment,
reached across the space separating us
and touched your shoulder softly, just so.
You jerked awake, brought us back into our lane.
Where was it you said you'd gone?
I remember we laughed, made a joke
out of squealing tires,
knowing our hearts needed a jump start,
only to ride the last fifty miles in silence.
I'm looking for the right words now.
A half century later
and we've still not spoken.
Where you went that early morning before dawn
I'll never know.
Where have you gone?