Direction

My grandfather’s eldest brother, Sam,
a widower with three daughters,
had little understanding of girls.

The youngest was keeping company
with a boy for too long. My grandmother
asked them both to dinner.

During dessert, she asked his daughter,
So, you love him? You want to marry him?

Yes.

She asked the boyfriend,
So, you love her? You want to marry her?

Yes.

She picked up a calendar and placed it in front of them.
Pick a date.

— Published in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow #7 (2014)

Three Seventy

They boarded a midnight flight
without thinking beyond
the seatback movie,
the car service had better be there,
hope the hotel has my reservation
.

Others awoke at first light
expecting to see a text—
Riding to the office, will email later.

No one feels like a gambler
when sunrise is a sure thing.

There are no cards to play,
no dice to roll, no horses to bet,

only small choices— do I take 360 or 370,
ok, that one is a little more, but I save a night in a hotel
,
type your details, click ok, credit card please.

We look at a clock and never see
the little wheel behind the second hand,
double zero ending the game.

— Published in LIPS #42/43 (2015)

Dig

I dug a hole in the ground to bury my doubts
near thin yellow bushes that die after five years.

Standing over my open pit, I shout questions.
They settle. I hear no response and cover them.

My fears are ten feet away, interred last weekend,
where the weeds are dense, bramble with long silver thorns.

I start to stack my sorrows for next week’s labor
beside brittle vines choking the memory stone.

— Published in “Narrative Northeast″

http://www.narrativenortheast.com/?p=1279

Chocolate

We walked to Brooklyn Flea—
the ramps are in season.

You bought the local chocolate,
a balance of salt and pungent,
but I like the blue tin,
bitter with chili oil.

Tasting,
its like pressing
your fingernails
into your palm
as a nurse draws blood—

the bitterness flows quickly on top of the heat.

I’ll buy some for next month.
 

— Published in “Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow # 7” (September 2014)

Under The Rock

Rock_2

There is nothing under the rock
Empty

Just some dust

Synthesized in a supernova crushing a cloud of gas into a new star
Five billion years ago

Fossilized shell remnants from a nautilus
Five hundred million years ago

Flakes cleaved off of a boulder when a pebble hit it during a hurricane
Fifty million years ago

Gastroliths from a crocodile eating nearby
Five million years ago

Colored pebbles gathered by a bowerbird displaying for a mate
Five hundred thousand years ago

Hills ground down from the ice covering the continent
Fifty thousand years ago

Grime dropped from a shoe of a man hunting antelope
Five thousand years ago

Ashes from a fire the wounded men danced around
Five hundred years ago

Coal from a steam train passing nearby
Fifty years ago

Construction debris from building new condominiums
Five years ago

Carpet sweepings from an unhappy home
Five months ago

Smoke from birthday candles for a one hundred year old woman
Five days ago

Sand placed by ants excavating their nest underneath
Five seconds ago

Just look

See

Nothing there

Empty

Just some dust
Under the rock

  

  
(Under The Rock has been accepted by Turtle Island Quarterly for publication)

Wrap Her Voice

Rolled blanket

Up on the stage, she slowly waves her hands over her head
Her ethereal song lifting all those around her
Singing as an angel
An ancient spirit is upon her

Afterwards, the techs wrap her voice
In a large blanket rolled around and around
To tightly fit roadie case #15
For transport to the next venue

Unpacked fifteen minutes before climbing onto the arena stage
She tests her voice and prepares for her call

He said that they should not silence her melody
Her sound should flow as freely as the wind
So she can answer the birds outside
And sing to her children

He begged her to think about her sacrifices
He reminded her that her voice is owned by her and not by her manager

She glanced at him, and he knew, more than if she spoke a thousand words
Her dream and her destiny

On the stage, she looks at him standing in the front row as she sings of love
He looks back, mouthing his response
And she slowly smiles, as a woman, as an angel, as a star

Pastry café

cafe_food_3

Saturday morning
Round white tables
Comfortable seats
Near the window
Almond croissant and coffee
Talk about our day
Touch your hand
College students at the next table
Local couple behind us
Pastry chef kneading dough
Counter workers filling orders
Take home a sandwich for lunch
Biscotti for tonight
Elephant ears for the kids
Fruit tarts for tomorrow’s dinner
Napoleon for the car
Cookies for whenever
Macarons for the holidays
All the colors
Stop by the farmer’s market
Then the library
Saturday afternoon
And be with you in the evening

Echoes of the Unsaid

Universe

 
A universe’s heart and edge
Move apart at the speed of time
In an endless solitary journey

The lonely center
Pulses outward, outward
Rhythmically

Sending yearning needs
Focused by a knotted vacuum
Towards a too distant past

Always curving
But never crossing
Its Möbius boundary

Endlessly straining to listen for
An answer from beyond
And to respond in turn

But silence
Is what remains after the sound fades away
And one still listens, listens

For a message
That can never be heard
Beyond the expanding unity

Of the one
Craving another
On the shadow side

The lonely center
Pulses outward, outward
Rhythmically

Forever, sadly,
Hearing only
The echoes of the unsaid