Circus nights

The chairs wear clown shoes
on cold nights at the circus

while DJs turn tables under
big tents and singing stars.

Children play puerile games
on top of discarded peanut shells

while elephants enthusiastically echo
long-forgotten songs we played

once like trapeze artists
thoughtlessly turning head

over heels without a net. I had never
flipped so carelessly until you

tamed the roaring lion now
nipping at your blue-nailed toes.

A familiar scene

Somewhere light plays piano in the background
of that scene, the one that so often
repeats itself.  You know the one
I mean — it starts with the sun embarking
on its customary routine, dancing to a slow tune

through the sky. We feel emboldened to move
with mirrored steps at the rhythm
we choose, back and forth, as
time arcs above us in brilliant currents
of arrows sharpened by the blitzing wind

only to fall below the horizon. And still the familiar
scene continues into the dark as we
share a stage emblazoned
in the afterglow of another imperfect day
made idyllic by blissful notes we always hit as one.

Private circles

You’re always cold, rosy cheeks trying
to escape another freeze or, like
a mermaid on shaky ground, limping
to your hiding place behind boxes of fate.

Fortune moves at a constant speed
regardless of temperature, though we may
feel warmer when a clock’s hands
share space with ours inside wool gloves.

As you shiver from that chill brought on
by anxiety or mysteries of the universe
too considerable to convincingly consider,
I’ll swivel you (wearing plaid designs

on our future together) around in my warm
embrace, reddening from a warmth born
of spinning hands keeping perfect time
as we retreat to privacy — finding our own tempo.

In dreams (on holiday)

We took a holiday from the cold
stoicism bred into us over generations
and jumped with cavalier abandon

into each others’ dreams where
we secured passage to stations
never visited by anyone else.

We found warmth among the fires
burning at those depths, illuminating
desires awakened in dreams

we share, and though our sleep
must end we’ll jump into vacations
as often as our legs will let us.

En route

I named a road in my mind
after you — the one that drives
rainbows of radiance
through my head like a brush
steering hair in one direction.

I’m conditioned by now
to think of the traffic
that bounces through my brain
as simply commuting
between thoughts of you.

Indeed, all streets stretch
one way, inexorably leading me
down the road and closer
to home with you.

Memories made on the trip
paint this lane in technicolor,
another colorful reminder that
I’ll never need take a detour.

I remember a superstition

What apparition dares walk
from this tomb, suave footsteps
echoing between faded stones
marking the passing of time
and human souls? Let the other
shoe drop in a puddle and expect

a splash, or does this spirit
have the confidence to walk barefoot
through a cemetery? Kids on the school bus
told me to never point at a graveyard
or I’d be there next but I can’t remember
if I listened or let the warning slip

through my fingers like an autumn
breeze bringing grave warnings
of winter and cold and death which
comes for us all while the bus driver
ignores us. Perhaps it was not a ghost
after all but merely the wind.

My imagination sometimes wins.

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.

Double flower

Rain brings with it the promise
of gleeful blossoms sure to sprout
with tomorrow’s caboodle
where I find you blooming with me.

The smell of showers reminds me
of wet grass sticking to my bare feet
when I didn’t think of the future
but roamed moment to moment.

Now, tomorrow is a double-flowered
carnation  — two blooms thriving
as one amid the rain and whatever
tomorrow’s weather brings.

I don’t roam alone any longer
and the rain falls sweeter.

A higher view

We approached the bluffs, feigning
through tired legs the stamina
to make any adjustment in altitude

So we stood, her eyes obscured
by the company of clouds that played
unbound just above flushed cheeks
or maybe I merely imagined them

reddened after the climb
Punctuation can be fickle and
ellipses hide all meaning …

It dawned on me as the sun rose
like steam in the shower blooms
to its full height in its own time
that love is stronger than gravity

The view from the summit came into focus
as the clouds leapt with a twirl to the sky
and we danced even higher energized in the sun.

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.

Weeding

Insomnia took root in the fragments of the night
that buzzed through my mind like an earthquake
swaying my base and screeching for attention.

It’s a monster.

The persistent ogre waits to spring,
even as I hide under cover
beneath the canopy of stars stretched
too tightly this cool evening.

Of course love is fearless, steadfast as it sustains us.

Those stems that sprout where we sow seeds
have the power to overwhelm weeds that found root
and together we drown out the din entirely.

I sleep soundly at last.

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.

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.

Stardust

It’s precisely because you’ve let me in
to swim among parts of you veiled
from others but protected from dust
— unmistakably you.

The sky is a river to the stars if we can hold
our breath long enough to bathe among
the abundance of life born in stardust
— unmistakably you.

Love is the best thing we do as we travel
together through a luxuriant universe
that allows fated souls to preserve in pairs
— undeniably us.

A new home

If we were fairies we’d live
in the putt putt houses
at the Fun Park. We wouldn’t have
to mow the yard since
the grass is fake and we’d be

together. I probably should have
led with that. We could fly
among the boisterous kids
who won’t let their colorful golf balls
stop before striking them

again. I wouldn’t even assess
a penalty — I’d just float on air
with you, a perfect world
too enchanted for tilting at windmills
or other distractions.

A thought as you read a book

As you flip through the pages
of my life

— in an upturned book
left open just for you —

I hope this thought
will comfort you

just as you sustain me:

My love was a boat
adrift in a salty ocean

nearly capsized
searching for port.

One day you volunteered
to be my anchor.

These pages turn
smoothly between your fingers.

Two birds

I see myself in these birds. Or more accurately
me and you — the red hair gives you away
and green’s always been your favorite color.

My beard is coming in nicely, though both it
and my cowlick run a bit grayer these days.
Your hair may be gray too if you ever let it

grow out. But life should be colorful,
like leaves in Autumn contemplating the fall
when they can kiss the ground at last.

So let’s share this tree branch a little longer,
me and you — whatever colors come our way
will be richer together, shared with you.

Hope in fog

Hope — or the appearance
of cloudy dreams lifting me
above
gray skies
underfoot — can be heard on the horizon
itself,
disrupted by frenetic thunder
no longer.

Fog — tribute to a once cloudy
future you’ve helped bring into
focus
with wire-framed
glasses — no longer obscures a rain-soaked path
insisting
we make this journey together
much longer.