Poems

Waking up

She can pierce the sky
with a sideways glance — leaves
scatter in her eyes & with a gust
I taste a coconut lime-
freckled shoulder
painted for Autumn.

Then with a smile
she reminds the sun to hang
a medal on the morning
& I memorize the way the light
sprinkles delight
on her cheek as I kiss
her good morning.

At last she’s ready
to engrave her initials on the day
& I’ll carve a spot with her
careful to leave
plenty of space for
tomorrow and tomorrow.

I come undone

My favorite sweatshirt has a thread
I tug without thinking because my hands
need something to do while my mind
dives into warmer waters. She blushes
when I tell her I like her

ponytail hair loosed around her face
as if someone creased a ribbon
to tie a gift just for me. She smiles
when I look into her eyes
& talk about tomorrow &

other presents we’ll unwrap together.
I don’t know how long this string is
but my mind follows her, my fingers find
this thread & she chases all
other thoughts out of the pool.

Suspended in air

She is dangling in the afternoon like Autumn
on the breeze, painting the horizon in her
favorite colors. I like to think the purples are just
for me as they frame the greens on trees
she’s allowed to stay a little longer.

October finds a way of fanning its leaves
until the hills burn with Autumn & still she traces
the sky with echoes of the sun’s brushstrokes
suspended somewhere in the atmosphere
she always knows where they land.

I put the day together like a puzzle but leave
it out of the box so the clouds can play
a major chord. Soon she’ll sing the stars
into a symphony while I taste grapes
on her lips, greens and purples linger.

I should buy a cowboy hat

As she counted off her medical history one
swollen finger at a time, I saw that feral cat
still self-conscious enough to clean
herself with her tongue. There are always
more cats & daylight doesn’t dim fireworks.

I hear them calling me, the sun making
an apprentice of the moon but still chasing
the dark from my eyes a few minutes longer. I find
comfort with the blanket over my ears
— I can still hear the bangs as I fall asleep.

I realized last night I face West when I lay
drifting to sleep. There must be something healing
in following the sun — she hasn’t mentioned
maladies since I sought that haven & I think
about cats as I shower for the journey.

A hazy night

We sat on the beach tracing colors
of a sunset that would make poets of us all.
She thinks I’m a failed sentimentalist
swimming through snapshots of yesterday

as memories stretch thinner then molt —
sink — settle at the bottom of the sea. I can’t hold
my breath as well as I did that night
the waves sang an opera in shells flat under

the weight of the world. Moments that pool
together in murky water will stir up
a seabed. She saw the face of god
in a cloud but I’m hazier tonight.

A night out

The specials hang precariously
from the menu as we wait
for our drinks or some other memento
of the night. Somewhere a gambler’s
sullen request for a crown
of a different suit threatens to upset
the atmosphere before evaporating
like vapor, airily passing
our server on the way from the kitchen.

She says Issac Newton is floating
in her head & I crave an apple but
I’ll settle for a journey where the sun picks
a number & lets us settle
on a sliver of the wheel. The specials fall
from my menu but there’s no law
against that. The server takes
our orders & the night feels endless.

August and after

August lacks the willpower to hold its breath
through a summer storm. No, the gusts
of a petulant season mark time
on our window, the rhythm of rain soaking me
to tranquility even in the face of ferocity.

Red-faced & resolute, even summer must end —
I see its breath, I see the wind, I see
the trees return to repose as the sky blues again.

We all have endings but with a pilgrim’s optimism
I start on another page of this diary, determined
to find more white sheets have been inked
in the months that fall somewhere
behind a summer storm’s last howl.

Yes

The morning starts with yes
wrapped in the smell of dawn

as it sheds the night
star by star

A no always stings
the throat & those sheer curtains
are so inviting

The moon reflects
on the day star by star

We say yes

The tempest

The tempest brought more
than rain, sprinkling magic
on marble-topped memories
that called from a dream
still shipwrecked. The sun tries
to break the spell but hope
flourishes in the light & she enjoys
showing off her tan. Though the tide
may wash visitors ashore or pull
other spirits out of a hat, she drinks
me in wearing tails.

In the wind

We sing along with the wind
as it pampers our skin, seasoned
from days in the sun. The leaves
rustle in accompaniment
as if the evening knew the rhythm
already. Perhaps
it merely borrows the tune
from us,
breath tied together on the breeze.


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