Stamped letters

She broke the seal on the envelope
eager to read the letter locked inside
a catalog of a specific moment
I gleefully shared with her.

We tie those moments downs as fast as
the ink dries, shadows of our past
written in the excitement of today
insisting on being tomorrow’s memories.

With a satchel of reread mail we embark
on another epoch with missives untied
before us, sharing a pen to forge another note
soon stamped with forever postage.

Whispers through me

The memory we created that night
comes asking for blueberries when I close
my eyes. Purple juice carries more weight
when pinched between two fingers.

Tomorrow jumps two ways if we let it. A comet
tells its tale for only a moment, though its arc
burns purple against black, as if we should
be expected to remember the contrast.

That night I held her hair in my fingers. Promises
of tomorrow whisper through me still, echoes
smoldering in a crescent-shaped bend near
places I had forgotten could feel warmth.

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.

Brilliant arc

That memory we used to share
comes asking for blueberries when I close
my eyes. I see a kaleidoscope.
Purple juice carries more than it thought
when pinched between fingers that just a moment ago
looked white.

You tried to ruin me but I know
tomorrow jumps two ways. A shooting star tells the tale
for only a moment, extinguished on descent,
though its arc burns red against the black
as if the contrast should surprise us.
The fire reveals the fruit.

Through the thorns

We search for a scarlet rosebud,
grabbing past the dreary thorns —
hidden but hopeful — pricking us
on our pursuit of that perfect bloom
sprouting defiantly for us.

The fire reveals the fruit but
illuminates scars — some we’d hoped
to hide with half-eaten candy —
not realizing that the bigger the room
the more places for serpents to hide.

I feel fortune’s poke in this, propelling us
on a treasure hunt where X
misses the mark sometimes while
our best highwater pants
keep our shins delightfully dry.

Survive the ice

Morning arrived with an icy slap
of good intentions — a cheeky
red reminder to weather another day.

Will the unwritten tourist hasten
to the conclusion, twenty-four unlived
chapters cut for time?

Or will she hold the day close and enjoy
whatever blows in with the chill, knowing
we cannot choose the story but relish the book?

The sun illuminates
what night tries to hide — a colorless tale
cannot survive long.
Survive long.

Reflections in space

Standing in the mirror
she failed to divine
the scope
of a universe just above
the horizon. Unseen
within herself,
distracted by visions
of reflected glory, her dreams
begged for sunlight.

The astronaut neglected
to recognize the gravity
of the situation,
but with luck she will
seize the opportunity
another daybreak illuminates, light
bounding among
the star-point hopes
lost among the dark.

Colors can be different

Colors are not frozen, shyly hiding
In the shadows while hinting at
a deeper shade. Colors can be different
colors, attacking us with their brilliance
or assaulting us through blue dreams
that search for softer complexion,
a complexity of consciousness.

Color may dance in musical hues
of pixelated pigment only I can hear,
telling stories too bold for black and white.
A brutal world craves absolutes, leaving us
to unearth our own meaning where we may.
A colorless tale has no heart. Let it go.
We will find warmth in tinctured breaths.

My memory (to come)

My murky memory extrapolates the smoke,
pixelated recollections somewhere in the cache
that clears itself (a grasp slackens)
as I hasten to replace lost echoes
with reminiscences to come,
not forgotten among the ash,
rising if we dare stretch hereafter.

The future — always fuzzy like sleep
that won’t rub out of our eyes — changes
every time we look at it, as we push forward
carrying the momentum of those better angels
urging us to grow our own wings
and launch ourselves to join those
refusing to leave progress to others.

Time will tell what tales we create,
Proceeding only where we dare.

A tree in winter

The tree stretches like a snowflake,
a white quilt whispering winter along
evergreen branches, lulling day
to sleep while cold quiet announces
the end of another year.

The tree earns another ring, thankful
for moderation in all things living
and dead. Moments of profound insight
from regular cycles leave a peaceful chill
in the air, holding me close, shivering
in the still afternoon sun.

In the end we still look to what comes
next, hushed faces in the setting sun
bracing against the cold, aware
somehow the light will return.

The in between

I revel in the in between, the moments
that cling to my swiftly failing memory
like a sock from the dryer that refuses to unhand
my shirt — something electric to embrace
the shocking windfall overtaking me.

I feel fortune’s stroke in this,
a lamp post spotlighting those moments —
unforgettable dots on a map
they blur past scurrying to the flashier dots,
leaving the in between her to us.

Elemental swing

I marvel at my son, this winded child,
boasting about hitting the baseball.
“Did you see that?” he shouts,
breath escaping in gasps, jubilant fireworks
celebrating a victory for the ages.

I see it. The pride in his face — a lion
reveling over a gazelle that will feed
her entire family — sustains us,
nourishment neither of us knew we needed
but is now elemental to our survival.

We watch the pomp, sharing in
the ostentatious delight only a child
revels in. He’ll stumble — superheroes
sometimes step on their capes — but
swing again, confident in any winds.

Last dying kiss

We must remember as we bravely parachute
to our final landing place to make the most
of all the lasts – a last meal to energize
our breaking body, last words to inspire
those not jumping though clouds, last visits
with passing specters sharing last goodbyes.

A death bed is just one last stage, one final
curtain call before an audience left wanting
more, grasping at minutes as they dissolve
between clapping fingers. Where does
the time go? Where does anything?

Winds blow in without warning
and dissipate just as quickly. Change
can revitalize whatever breezes
haven’t swept farther down the road.

Our end is an end, one of millions every
day that taste salty on pursed lips
aching under the weight of uncertainty.

I will not waste mine. With my last
dying kiss, I’ll noiselessly thank you

for a life well played.

Keep kicking

Somewhere beneath the waters
of another dream washing the day off
I slumber through the dark, uncertain night.
What is life but a series
of best guesses, sailors choosing a course
without stars guiding them? We swim,
arms flailing, struggling to keep our heads
above the salty tides pulling us
somewhere – better?

With the sun I’ll break free of this repose,
swim this way – or that
way – guessing at an island paradise
I can almost see beyond the reach
of my freestyle fingers, stretched straight
like they taught me. I’ll keep kicking,
keep moving, keep ahead
of the currents – but for now I rest
my weary legs, my arms.

Serenity now?

We are all connected. The woman
in line at the grocery store
too tired to say no to one more question.
The young man scanning the Skittles
his arm a pendulum absentmindedly marking
time. And me at attention
with the world while my phone
shows zero bars and I long to march on.

We all crave serenity. The woman
thinking of a euphoric cacophony of silence
that a mouthful of candy may bring.
The young man clocked out and finding
ecstasy absent the din of beeps, glorying
in his moment. And me raptured
from this world and returned home
where my wifi vigorously absolves me.

Mother told me

My mother told me it would all be okay,
but I’m inclined to believe that
things were simpler in her
womb, in the dark about the blights
illuminating mysteries
perhaps best left out of the spotlight.

A warm shield from injustice
with the first breath of my origin story,
Mom carefully pulled back the veil
through childhood, slowly acclimating my eyes
to a world waiting to blind me
with harsh truths and cold, naked reality.

Perhaps I’m okay. I don’t know another way
and I’m inclined to believe that
things – though complex – deserve
the light, and I can see clearly
because her hand pointed the way.

And then

A funeral, then the beach –
tastes hot in my mouth,
clinging to top of my mouth,
lingering unwanted
black heat into the void.

The sun insists on spitting
spicy splinters of light,
splashing in my eyes, children
playing on retinas, harmless
and infuriating – such indifference.

A hurricane, then back home –
feels wet on my face,
showering on a young shopping cart
creeping to the bike rack
winding eyes wide in witness.

I dare not wade into
mischievous waters, churning
in the pit of my stomach,
longing for relax, last
to reach the calming land.

Deception

I prefer to call deception –
that duplicitous imposter
born of self-aggrandizement
amid seasons of otherwise warm
dispositions – a fraud
whose hazy outline bleeds lies
like smoke
as mirrors
portend a vague shadow
of a home where earthly browns fade
to nothing,
his intent from the start.

The fox who outfoxes (or do
I mean outguiles?) no one cannot
reach the tree, leaving
with only sour grapes, paws scratched
among the pretense. Thorns stir us
from the artifice,
pedals dissolving
like smoke
as windows
stubbornly refuse to reflect
angled shadows
in a home where truth fades
to nothing,
and we arrive at the end.

Edge of Summer

Edge of Summer

A puppet tricks a telephone,
answering to no one
in the sunshine,
wearing a garish bathing suit
several sizes too large
held up
by sweat and determination.

Genuine in her vitality, she
bares the heat
in her beach chair,
wearing the virtuous look
of someone bravely
confronting
the view from the edge of summer.

The puppet stumbles to her bike,
cycling through the rhythm
of homecoming,
wearing the dog days
in sown-on lips,
reddened
by the last seaside breeze.

The endless storm

Tempestuous and tempered, raging
among the heavens but eager to descend,
the endless wrath of another storm
hurries us into the shadows.

Hidden from the blustering call while
a squall stumbling for purpose blots out light
with each blast, blindly seeking
a companion, we huddle, hopeful

the humidity will swim away as
we continue to perspire, hesitant
to head out into the gale, uncertain,
but wet one way or another.