When the Old Man fell,
it interrupted all scheduled programming,
including Brittany’s tenth birthday party,
where I was one minute feeling,
to pin the tail on the donkey,
and the next waiting,
to hear the sound
of a pin
from the sky
Fifteen years later,
children circle around me,
as if I were campfire,
to tell stories of their favorite hikes,
as if they happened yesterday.
I circle around what happened yesterday.
Pollute the Air, Make People Sick.
74 Acres and Counting, Burning.
When the Old Man fell,
Time tends to create an opaque membrane,
with more limited optical clarity
behind the lenses of eyes
that automatically adjust for distant targets,
when someone, who is very fond of blue,
It draws the taupe veneer of history
over the windows of the heart,
goading light from the front of the house—
What if I could shine from inside out?
Never is honey as raw
as its origin flower,
at the moment of dehiscence,
giving in to the release
of seeds, pollen, and the quiet
that comes after —
the spontaneous opening
along a single crack
of built-in weakness,
where the wound fails to heal.
Mark how the wisteria behaves,
dripping from a ceiling
in the 1900 block
of NE Schuyler Street;
how its winglike petals
What makes a favorite number is enigmatic.
The answer to how many blades of grass
whistled between my thumbs
on that hazy summer afternoon,
bored to death, but still sweating
only childhood — how many didn’t?
The rhythm of counting clovers by color
white, white, red, blistering red
not minding the stinger,
on the instep of my index finger,
which proved the sweetest score.
The shape of that room in my memory
with unpainted concrete sidings —
aged into a mosaic of brown specks
of old blood — that seemed to fall in
no matter how I squared them.
My favorite number is four. There is no reason for it.
It is just how it is, so far as I know.
The best human solution to the problem of grief
over a lost sense of being outdoors,
combined with fear of being found out
is the Juliet balcony, a slight protrusion towards
Step 1: Admit powerlessness.
Forecasters say heavy rains, pushing east-southeast,
could knock it out on Monday morning,
and what’s worse, lift my seedlings from their pots,
and plant them into the alley.
I want to get back into circulation, free-flowing
words that pop out of nowhere,
like the bright pink head of that purple finch there,
with forward-facing toes gripped around
a wild knot of power.
I admit I lack the same command of iambic feet,
but my deeply sincere tone, and good humor alone
could help others get through the day;
namely, the zinnias, otherwise to be washed
beyond the reach of roots by May.
So, I switch the latch lock off, and rise to join them
at the balustrade, where I recite a mantra:
…to accept the things I cannot change…
and there’s something slightly
Shakespearean about it now.