Clutch

In late October when
the wrens nest and watch
their brothers
leave, my mother and I walked
along the rim of the lake,
my two-inch fingers wrapped
tightly around hers.

That’s covered in germs. Don’t touch
it
, she said when
I looked down,
found the glimmering
brown feather, the hawk’s flight suspended

in the grass.
I did not ask
questions like, Why
does the wind push
birds to the earth?
or
How does a child lose
its feathers?

No; I touched the edge
of my lips to keep
the words from flying
away. The feather lay suspended

in my eye,
fingers curling around my mother’s,
dull talons on a nest.

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Plowed Under

The harvest moon rests
in the palm of the brown sky;
my days lie, furrowed.

I turn earth over your face,
hoping seeds sprout in autumn.


Honeymooners

Mankind is the jewel
on Mother Nature’s back,
the wart she tries
to shake off, the crown,
the overgrowth, the curl,
the dancing partner,
the interlocutor,
the houseguest, the punchdrunk
husband,
all the bribery, care,
and old-world brutish love
rolled into one.

The habit she can’t lose,
the drug she can’t quit,
the one who holds her
from behind,
stroking her hair
and pulling it.


Theodicy

God is the lightning
bug that I forget
about until He
blinks.


Blind Faith

Tiresias taps
his cane, a prophet
singing his way
into old Jerusalem.

Blues ooze from
the gash of his mouth;
he can’t wade out
into the swirling pool.
He’s devout
as far as
he can feel
with a three
foot pole and legions
of eyes nailing
him to the soiled tile wall of the
subway.


Souvenirs

I wonder if He keeps
the wood around his neck,
splintered and red, pried
from the tree He died on,
like we do.

Does He keep mementos
of His moment in death,
pulling them out of a
splintered box each week,
like we do?

Perhaps it doesn’t
bug Him, like spots on a
mirror He keeps close.
Or does it remain like a
hurricane on a spindle,
turning slowly, once and always?


Summer

When I draw up my life
in from the clouded sea,
like wrinkled burlap that lay
on the threshing floor
in the winter,

I will wring it out,
tying it up at one end
so that it holds the brass
baubles with my marks
on them.

And God, that hoary
head that rises from the
stones, will strap it to
His belt loop, holding
me by the shoulders
in the warm moon
of eternal summer.