Published by Atticus Review at http://atticusreview.org/the-trees-issue/

If                                  I should die before I wake, lay me ‘neath

a tree                          where  lichen grows in whiskers, for I

fell in                          love with a stubbled chin that trailed

the forest                   across my collar, up-over my mounds,

and no one was        allowed to cut pink slippers, he said,

around                        here, the Lady is scarce as hen’s teeth

to hear it                     mark your drums with turpentine, but

did it make                 sense to recluse into romance, to build

a sound                      heart for two?

Expectation vs Reality

What are we trying to do
with the word picnic?
Take a regular lunch,
and paint it red.
Red as the veins
of ketchup,
that snake the backs
of spineless dogs.
Red as the tulips
that propagate
when gardeners forget
to put out their bulbs
… until after Christmas.
What is a date
without Blood of Flowers?
A bottle of Rosé
to keep the reality at bay,
that we are showing
our private hearts
in public parts;
trying to figure
each other out
of a wicker basket,
and eat.
Where are the wild things?
Ants, to make us dance,
in our pants,
A bear to make us
piss them.
Without the hokey pokey,
What is a picnic all about?

April Fools

Come in, little lamb.
Let me teach:
“How to Bake a Shepherd’s Pie”
In as many days as it takes
For us to die.
That’s not to say
You’re slow at learning
or Death is coming quick.
Don’t be stupid.

Don’t be the Jack who cries
at tripping the candlestick.
Boy, that’s no wolf or foul,
Just a shadow [of doubt].
Be nimble. Hear me out.
Bend your ear to an idea
of Education by which
Practice makes better
is non sequitur.

How to define better,
When tastes change
With the season;
When butter is subject
To become too rich
For no certain reason?
Define your practice.

Trust that interest
And appreciation
For the Arts
Are a kind of devotion
In themselves,
Of greater value than
Any technical skill
You master,

You went out like a lion,
With great fortitude,
In April showers
That still may blow
Our house down.
You went out
For Worcestershire sauce.  

Because the recipe
Called for 1 teaspoon
And we had none;
Because this was to be the meal
That set everything right
That made us better
If not perfect

Now, at the front steps
You kowtow to me,
As if I don’t understand
That there will be days
When handles fly off,
Because we choose
To carry our baggage

Come in, little lamb.
Let me teach:
“How to Make it Work”
In as many days
As you are willing
To show up,
Wet and soiled,
But God-willed
To learn.

Bowing to Each Other

I catch them doing it,
in plain sight,
without aid of glasses
or flashlight —
cautious as deer
in duck season.

Deer except for
a certain grace,
which no human actor
may replicate —
regardless of the shoes
she is wearing.

Not that I can say,
being neither close
as a slingshot,
nor far
as a gunshot;
rather, in the range

Of bow and arrow,
where it’s impossible
to give a good lick,
but plausible
they might curl
at the toes.

Do you see what I see?
Standing stockstill
and clothed —
It must be, I know,
their first time doing it
I am catching.

From my bower,
where sanctity protects
and discretion is easy,
I can play along —
should there come
a part fit for me.

A part shaped like
house and chimney,
formed of the negative space
between two columns,
whose alert, animal faces

Toward the same bit;
to champ together,
separately —
in practical relationship
to one

Catch me creepinglikeadog
[WOLF enters stage center]
to introduce awareness
of that separation,
and the necessity
of feeling it,

As hopefulness;
for more advances on the path
for getting closer to
than this:

The highest form of intimacy is bowing to each other.

Hard Feelings

We might call them
easy-to-hang-on feelings
or forms of regret
or crushes
or something else entirely
like how I call them

From hour to hour,
from day to day,
like clouds,
they manifest
in predictive
patterns and shapes;
but, no duck.

In the sky,
there’s no cover
for lovers,
there’s no milk
for apple pie;
but, perhaps,
enough water

to call them
but-not-impossible feelings,
or thoughts that run,
or what happens when
one of us says
to the other:

“I’m leaving.”