Reconciliation

Unintended, random like dice, or love

the stories fell into place, puzzle parts

as remembered, and retold as punch lines

to a deflected tragedy one night

late after almost all had departed.

You spoke into your anguish. I listened,

troubled in my failed attempt at reason,

for what you had said tore into my heart.

How can anyone know the genetic

strands of what we have said to each other?

where the safe world we have constructed shapes

us from the lies we have neatly explained

until the only truth we know is ours,

tangled in our hearts’ cold reliquaries.

(November 21, 2021)

Today and Every Day

We drown in our waste,

as history fragments, like

ice shelves to the sea.

(October 1, 2021)

how history begins (136)

maps do not speak 

as vaguely blurred 

vowels along riverbanks 

where second cousins 

two counties removed 

slur to their mates 

nor sift for finer 

details in pap’s 

bourbon tongue 

(April 26, 2021) 

what’s to be done but misunderstand (129)

SONY DSC

with a thousand toes to step upon

scattered across the ballroom floor

he negotiates with a nonchalance

reserved for sinister seductions

each phrase she said like a rabbit 

testing the air for the slightest sound 

to announce the wolf’s ragged debut

yet the wolf is off in some other forest

tracking that red-caped girl and

the wind carries sounds 

from some other tale as 

everything we once knew

crumbles into sullen ash

(April 2, 2021)

a house without mirrors (121)

from what vantage point

can one see oneself

with a panoramic clarity

reserved

for history

and mountain ranges

in the spring


the answer of course lies

in one’s own myopic

vision blurred

with warm blankets

precise collars

and a dilettante’s 

book shelf

(February 13, 2021)

Another Sad Love Poem

this letter will be ignored

as so many others

or perhaps worse

misread

as if

some other

were the subject

instead of you

(February 9, 2021)

Drowning(107)

he walked along the quay and listened

to the waves shush each other

as they lay down on the shore


the moon wove between clouds

lacing the waves in white

before they sank beneath the sand


he wanted the waves

to wash it all away

what he wrote what she said

(January 20, 2021)

which simple metaphor shapes my day (104)

a different time with new shadows

wraps the light in different patterns

more random more abstract less fragile

less likely to crack like a beetle’s

carapace beneath my careless boots


I roam between my vacant days

then disappear easier than I thought

between quick ire and old resentments

like broken branches slip easily

with the river’s froth across smooth rocks


despite all the engrained justifications

despite the comprised and contradictory

narratives despite the feral rage

I am who I am stripped of language

laid down since birth like shrouds

(January 15, 2021)

shadows near shadows far away (103)

as if trapped in a net of shadow

afternoon light through the window

struggles on the opposite wall 

to form a coherent pattern where

a difference may be discerned

between shadows near and far away


outside the oak and elm stand mute

allowing the air to whisper for them

allowing easy cliches to answer

decades of hardened blood

to answer questions never asked

to form opinions from shadow

as old palimpsests below the scars

re-inscribe the day hour by hour

chronic cough (98)

when mom died

we scattered her ashes

near the New Sweden cemetery


the chill wind swirled

like a witch’s spell

I inhaled then spat her out


today a cold wind dances

fall leaves down the street

I cough slightly then spit

(December 2, 2020)