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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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