The cue ball

I watch the cue ball bolt
confidently across
the green sea of a pool table
with expert precision

much the same way that
she bounced into my life
at a right angle
and by degrees knocked
me from my stupor.

Like that billiard ball jolted
from idleness I’m sailing
on an unexpected journey
through waters
uncertain of the destination

but confident that she
left enough top spin
to accompany me
wherever the waters take us.

In the fruit bowl

Tomorrow unwinds itself
on the tomato vine, redder
than yesterday but still
not as juicy if I could just
wait another day.

Patience tastes sour
on my tongue — lemon juice
forcing a pucker on my lips —
and while the days
pile up like fruit in a fruit bowl

I still turn to you to replace
my sour face
with something sweeter,
strawberry juice
on the corner of my mouth.

Spider’s web

I didn’t intend to disturb
the spider’s web as it twinkled
in the last of the evening light.
I was mesmerized by the soft knell

of the wind chimes announcing
the end of another day, the dirge
distracting me from the poor arachnid’s
impressive work. What remains seems

inadequate, or at least insufficient,
to capture dinner, and I wonder
if the spider will eat tonight
or begin work on another web,

empty stomach cursing the giant
thoughtless storm who lacked
the sense to walk around the glinting
piece of art now disappearing underfoot.

That itch

When I finally stopped ignoring
the itch and embraced the warmth
indigenous to that indiscernible link
we share like a rope tethered
to two unlit woodpiles
waiting for ignition,

the spark provoked the catalyst
to combustion that could cross an ocean,
igniting the very water
that thwarts less resolved attempts
at scratching at heat
that runs deep.

Running hot

That macabre nightmare refuses
to desist, bubbling in my thoughts
like a frightening fountain whose faucet
runs only hot.

Only hot — those visions mock me,
scald my soul until scars fester
and ripple on the surface encircling
what was once me.

Once me — like a pest I’ve gone
too far and while you watched this pot
has boiled. All that remains is the drain,
once me (and you) run only hot.

Reflection on trees

What hope grows in the throats
of reflected trees, wondrous
wooded dreams pooled
together like a scarf spooled
down the back of a child,
not worried where it may wind up?

What are reflections if not
homages to something larger,
perhaps a portal for Autumn winds
to escort colorful leaves
like thread, drawing a home
wherever they may wind up?

The old house

The house on Marford peaks
above the hedge, shaggy tiles
(dulled to grey from years
in the sun) frown
under the weight of domestic
solitude.

Isolation trickled down the chimney
until the walls began to rot
(like fruit in the sun
too long) until the squat couple
can’t bear to peak
through the window.

The mail carrier doesn’t
even bother anymore.

Ought to be

It would be folly to consider myself
where I ought to be, as if ‘ought’
could glow in your hand
like half-eaten candy thawing
memories under open clouds.

What hubris man to divine
import from earth-bound particles
bouncing among people walking
heads down, the center of it all.

Heavenly bodies revolve
around some other lantern
the same as me, sticky fingers
sweeter from the journey.

Discolored past

The rocks mark the ground
between prospering weeds enriched
by the warmth of a sun surging overhead,
encircling those of us interred
on a planet whose
percussive heartbeat rocks me to sleep.

I sense the presence of wildflowers,
of ants scurrying together in the dirt,
of life — too bountiful to count or name —
thriving in the darkness or
at least out of sight —
I dare not note a difference in perspective.

Photos remain after we pass on
a gentle breeze that thoughtlessly turns
blacks to sepia, discoloring too many memories
otherwise cruelly lost
in darkness
even though the sun shines tomorrow.

Who will?

Who will hear our prayer,
echoing through the empty air
that divides us, an appeal
to something unseen and unseeable,
our invocation lost among nothing?

Who will hear our psalm,
the choir humbly beseeched
by a chorus reverberating with thanks
in its every deliverance before
the entreating congregation?

Who will answer our pleas,
voices searching for seraphic blessing
while some celestial body
of spiritual vitality circles —
words bouncing in the void?

How absurd

The comprehensive volume
ate the details for a reader’s
digestion, its stomach aching for
absolution. How absurd is heaven?
Beyond life — an after life like a river
struggling to find its course while
bemused water fowl refuse
to follow the march to eternity.

The wandering fact
missed the hereafter, forfeiting glory
for eternal restlessness, light
balancing good and evil while
the judge looks bored in black.
What of the crowing girl who murders
a scarecrow? The last straw
dances in fields of gray.

Pinching

I am stuck
at the beginning,
pinching
at rice like
the expectant mother
pausing
out of breath
mid-stair.
The other side is often pregnant.

Intention grows
even in
chilled winds,
germinating while
we fixate elsewhere,
though
I don’t always recognize
its birth.
Tomorrow takes its own word for granted.

Ambition shoves us
forward,
though I wish
I could
stop long enough
to admire
the track, rushing,
stuck at the
start.
Light thaws in its own time.

Just breathe

You look confused, eyes tangled
in bewilderment, unsure what comes
next. Flustered words slowly swim
upstream, tangled in the waterweeds
and obscuring the direction
of the current sweeping
your feet out from underneath.

Breath. Collect your thoughts — they are
but two-cent pieces taking
up space in a piggy bank you had
hoped fattened by now, or full enough
at least for the both of us.
I’ll be here when you’re ready.

In the black

What mystery lives in the black,
those dark corners where light
fears to enter, abandoning
sharp edges for the comfort
of round sides and smooth edges.

The charade may encircle us (eyes
blind the gust of puzzles pointing us
in the wrong direction) binding us
to this place in knots of fear
that only the unrevealed can tie.

I choose to embrace the dark,
the baffling ambivalence that bubbles
when we feel underwater, though
the lake remains half full
whatever lurks beneath.