This morning, flowers cracked open
the earth’s brown shell. Spring
leaves spilled everywhere
though winter’s stern hand
could come down again at any moment
to break the delicate yolk
of a new bloom.
The crocus don’t see this as they chatter
beneath a cheerful petal of spring sky.
They ignore the air’s brisk arm
as they peer at their fresh stems, step
on the leftover fragmentsof old leaves.
When the night wind twists them to pieces,
they will die like this: laughing,
tossing their brilliant headsin the bitter air.
I have just today become
at peace beneath the twilight sky.
The moon hung like silence:
as I dragged garbage
down the hill and I thought
it would rain. All day it should
have rained in the grey cloud-light.
I refused to leave the house
while you mowed the lawn
until I realized
the week’s junk would
have to go despite the weather.
I went out and crouched
in the driveway. I counted
stones and locusts.
I looked for leaves
and the occasionals
I thought of you,
how it’s been seventeen years
since we slept on a narrow bed.
When the cicadas hatched
I spent hours avoiding
but this year I examined
their red eyes,
their transparent wings
etched with veins and purpose
until they laid their eggs
and died. Now the moon
hangs like wisdom
above our garbage at the curb.
And I’ve counted all the leaves
while you nap inside,
unaware of the importance
of bugs, how much depends
on seventeen years of silence.
* both poems previously published at About.com - Poetry
I knew as soon as the chainsaw slipped,
as soon as the tree fell groaning to the wrong side,
everything would be different.
Your fragile smile calmed me
though my hand’s bones lay naked
and messy like broken sticks on a red floor.
The sunlight hit the wound but didn’t hurt
so I sat very still, as if for a photograph:
a portrait of the one precious moment
that changes everything.
When the tourniquet finally
cut its crease in my arm,
I grabbed you and crushed the orchid
I’d tucked in your hair.
Your little nephew laughed the way children do.
He thought us funny,
you with flower askew,
me with my lips in your lap—
blood everywhere like spilt jam at a picnic.
Your sister shushed him while tears
splintered her face,
and suddenly the world
had lots of cold leaves
and I knew you’d catch me
if I let go.
*previously published at Melic Review
Early Man Was Hunted By Birds
Early man was hunted by birds
Now grass does not stick to us,
does not stain our skin with green ink.
Our feet do not run from birds.
We are weighed down at the corners
with shoes, old and worn at the heels,
unyielding as a steel knot on the ankle.
Some are broken from the waxed
sawing of laces, the insistent weaving
of a double knot. Many are scuffed
from driving to places that have no wind
because the walls do not allow it.
Every day some will be thrown out.
Perhaps in time the grass will bury
these thousands of empty feet,
will pave the mound with green,
and birds will hunt the mice
that hide in empty sockets.
*previoulsy published in Abalone Moon Journal
Because he broke the sun
the box of morning
closed tight as regret
and you left
like the susurration of breath
from a dying woman.
You wore his anger all day
while you walked the street,
bled color like a butterfly
because the suture of his last kiss
did not heal you
or change your mind.
When the rain followed you home,
you closed the door and windows.
You sealed up
like an unopened box, plain
brown wrapper, no return
address, no stamp
to say where you've been,
no date to tell how long ago
*first published in Lilylit Review
Thursday, November 1, 2007
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