Monday, December 12, 2016


At the Edge of the Forest

Today the animals came out of hiding
and I told myself I would not reach back.

An unnamed bird,
wise and white like sugar cookies
fluttered in front of me,
chirping and reminding me I was a good man,
someone’s strong son.

Later on a fawn came out from a copse and nudged
its long snout under my palm,
needing to be petted and comforted,
and so I did what it wanted
until the squirrels and chipmunks,
some baby chicks and jackrabbits,
lumbered on over, too,
all in need of consolation,
huddled around as if I had the answers.
And when I told them I didn’t
they cocked their heads as if hearing something sonic.
I said, “I do not.  I do not.  I do not,”
but they scampered closer
and pawed the brown soil,
until I said, “How about I tell you a story?”

So I described your face and soft touch,
the ladder of bones in your lower back,
the lilt of your voice in yearning,
the misted field that waxes your eyes at times…

I told it all,
and when I had finished near dusk,
the critters cried at the moon,
sullen and confused,
wanting to know how on earth
I could ever let you go.


Nothing is lifted,
or forgotten.
Tomorrow unfolds the way
tragic moments do
when left unspent,
like clean coins or shiny secrets,
no mercy for the wounded
or the lover’s hand that grazed your cheek,
moon gazing down in fascination,
shadows parting for an encore
that never comes.


The Woman Wearing Linen

She glows in linen
and everything else is negligible.
There are shells to paint or break,
coconuts to split,
a land of lava to walk across.
But look,
even the waves seem wary of her beauty.
Tomorrow the ocean will boil,
the jungles flaming,
but today’s a celebration
with her
in it.


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