Prey

Since I am 

no snake

sloughing skin,

I hide my scars 

in an imagined other.

Not the obvious,

oblivious sheep,

but one more wary,

who waits

along the edge

knowing fear,

knowing

like rabbits:

one step left,

one step right,

without calculation,

equals death;

and any

volition ends

with a quick flutter

of feathers,

and the talon’s

sharp pang

lifting one

toward heaven

like a song.

(October 1, 2019)

An Early Spring Day in Paris, 1984

The Seine flows

endlessly

around us.

We sit on the tip

of the Ile de la Cite

as if on a boat’s bow,

sailing up the river.

The sun shines,

like a promise,

after days of cold rain.

We drink a decent Bordeaux,

eat fresh pate smeared

across chunks of ubiquitous baguette.

Notre Dame looms

darkly behind

in its medieval bulk.

We are in love, as we

are still forty years later.

Nearby,

above a former morgue,

is a memorial

to the two hundred thousand martyrs

handed over to the Nazis by the Vichy

for deportation to the camps

forty years before we sat happily

oblivious to all but the beauty

of that one Parisian afternoon.

(September 19, 2019)

Interrupted While Reading in Public

A nothing—

you suppose

and assume

too much

upon others:

as if your presence,

and proximit,y

are enough,

you claim space

upon our attention.

You who speaks

a flurry

of flatulence—

Who are you

to say we’re rude?

Like pebbles,

you throw words

to blind,

mock,

and silence.

At best, 

you are a gnat

flitting between

this book

and the table.

(September 16, 2019)

Safe Passage

Amid twilight’s slow dance,

along a moment’s periphery,

always some other lurks close,

whispering him toward the rocks:

“Don’t stop. Over here, no here.

Somewhere other than where

you are, someone other

than the person you are.”

As the voices rattle like bones

in a box longing to be heard,

he barely notes the susurrations,

never knowing where he goes.

Thus, the lackadaisical waves

slip him limply past the shore.

(January 16, 2019)