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Lines Written in a Pandemic a Few Days After the Summer Solstice

from a work in progress: “Process, Not a Journey” (67)

our earth wobbles its way

about the sun like a drunk

unsure of her footing

moves again

toward the bar

*

day by day minute by minute

plods toward darkness

for the next six months

each day grows darker

by one minute

*

not quite disturbing

the dullard doves

who coo complacently

on the fence

cardinals and jays

fussing constantly

slip after each other

between tree branches

I watch and listen

to this dance

for hours

and can do nothing

*

as it was in the beginning

world without end

(June 23, 2020)

Lightning Ignites the Core of a Tree

All around him, the forest burns,

uncontrolled, beautiful.

The warmth reassures him

with its certainty.

His fingers burn; the flesh

chars as on a spit.

He turns, searching;

but she is gone, if ever

she were truly there.

He stands alone,

arms outstretched.

Flames leap through the trees;

smoke swallows the sky.

(December 10, 2019)

A Disappointing Session at the English Teacher Conference

I am here

I am here abuzz on coffee

I am impatient with the speaker who is reading her power points to us

I am a reader, as is everyone in this room

this is an English teacher conference after all

the power point is structured like an academic research article

I only know this because once

I was, or wanted to be, an academic

I am a teacher

I understand research and its power

I want my students to feel this power

The presenter has stopped reading her power point

a student of the presenter has stood to witness

he was successful, he feels transformed

so he is transformed

another student stands to witness

she too was successful-

and transformed-

Bless Us Jesus-

which no one said, but they could have

or did say without being religious

or calling on Jesus

this presentation is a sales job

not just for the class on research

but for the presenter’s new book on research—

your students can feel this way too

BUY my BOOK

I’ve had too much coffee

and leave to find a restroom

(December 6, 2019)

The Commute Between Day and Dream

Lost amid the accusations

and misappropriations

in bars and vague hallways,

he wakes into his troubles

unable to disaggregate

his shadows from the dawn.

Behind him, they trail ribbons

of smoke, curling about his feet

like cats hunting rats,

whenever he stops to think.

From frozen puddles, old friends

and loves rise toward him;

their faces blurred beneath ice.

They then sink away, as quickly,

leaving him to shuffle his fingers

uncomfortably across the steering wheel

as he waits for the light to change.

(July 24, 2019)

Coupled

At home, they sit across from each other

like a pair of stone-silent gargoyles, when

he sighs to himself as if with remorse.

Looking up, she asks, out of politeness,

“Is something wrong?”  He shakes his head, and says, 

embarrassed that he had spoken out loud,

“Oh, Nothing, just thinking, at least nothing

important enough to say:  just thinking.” 

They watch each other with a quiet calm 

like the still center of a raging storm; 

each happy enough at home not to stir 

up any conversations to avoid. 

Slowly, they fall into their silences,  

starkly alone with their thoughts together. 

(April 18, 2019)