Friday, July 31, 2009

Looking South and West

The beach becomes unknowable when the tide comes in,
like a lover no longer mine.

An expanse of rocks once walked upon, lies below the surface,
obscured, unattainable.

A stretch of land once traversed with caution on the uneven surface,
now seen from a distance.

A body once explored, memories mined, love made with abandon.
The space between us no longer consumes.

You would arrive at my apartment and lay your head in my lap.

Then the tide came in and buried what once belonged to me under cold clear surge.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Topography of a Life

Be my cartographer.
Travel hills and valleys with work-roughened fingertips.
Trace outlines with your tongue, breath whispered along the rivers and streams.

Chart my life.
Record the tracks that line my face with your eyes.
Put into your memory the elevations that show the years on my body.

Let me be the places you visit, passport in hand.
New destinations and favorite locations you return to.
Caverns and deltas, all the plains covered in fine, soft, grasses bending to your touch.

Say yes.
Take my hand in yours.
Voice in my ear that no other country intrigues you.
Come home to me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

In The Downstairs Room

The light is on in the downstairs room,
The one furthest from the street.
With the window that looks out on the ancient elm tree,
Taller now than the house itself.
And in that room sits an old woman,
Dozing in her chair.

She sits and waits for the sound of his key in the door,
The measured tread of his feet down the hall.
He’s gone to play bridge, as he has every Thursday for forty years.
By the time she hears him,
The fire has died down to embers.

Feigning sleep she lets him wake her,
With the same kiss on the cheek he bestows
Each time he comes home.
And taking his hand, she lets him lead her up the stairs,
To the double bed that dips in the middle,
Rolling their bodies together.

How was the game? She asks quietly in the dark,
His arm holding her tightly against his chest,
His knees tucked close behind hers.
Tonight, he said, tonight we won.
And patting his hand in equal triumph,
She feels his breathing change and deepen into sleep.

The Final Card

So soon the ending.
Cards in my hand.
Yet somehow the game is over.
The last trick gone before I close my eyes.

Sharpness of the blade.
Unexpected cut on my fingertip.
Pain I could not anticipate.
Winner takes all.

If a wound does not bleed, is it true?
A final counting, no chips left.

Shuffle the deck.
King beats Queen.
Jacks are wild.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ode To A Child

I dreamt of you last night
Silver fish slipping through my waters.
You are not real, but in the night I felt you.

I named you Eva and your eyes were familiar. They looked at me with history and sorrow.

I know what your voice would sound like, how you would walk, I can see you skipping across a sunlit beach, tide bracing your slender ankles.

Paused on the rocks you look back at me, a hint of laughter, bright eyes in wonderment of creatures clinging to edges in the spray.

You are not real, nor ever will be, but in the night I know you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


He was smaller than me and blonde.
He was light and elfin, with quick hands and a knowing smile.
He was innocent and childlike,
slow speaking and sure of himself for such a young man.

He worked on his car parked on the hot blacktop of the parking lot,
while I drank beer and made him laugh.
He sold that car to a friend before he left town.
I would see it around, black and gold and fast,
with someone else at the wheel.

He has been gone a long time now.
We were just kids back then,
though I knew more of the world than he.
Back to the Midwest of childhood he went,
to build airplanes and reach into the blue.
I, left behind, found you.