Poetry Archives L-M

You’ll always hate everything
about the perfect funeral dress

and the way the sleeves
could be some other
or the hemline
or the neckline
or the fabric
or the price

and the way
it’s just
it’s just

it’s just

Lies the Neighbors Told Yesterday

From outside my window

Don’t kick that ball over the fence
I won’t go get it

I flip through my mental catalog
find the face
to match the voice
and smile at the lie
knowing that woman
as little as I do
and still knowing
she would go
over that fence
under it
through it
tear it down with her bare hands
burn the pieces
bury the ashes
then stand unflinching
before any judge in the world
and deny there had ever
been a fence at all
if that fence stood
her little boy
and what would make him happy

I smile again
at the instant of silence
outside my window
that is a little boy
deciding he should at least try
to not kick the ball over the fence
Loosing Change

Pennies in a jar
dropped by others
caught my eye
with their
gleam against gray
until I lost count
and wondered
by the weight
of their worth
if I shouldn’t
have saved years
Marking Time

Slips of time
torn one by one
word of the day

thrown and scattered
confetti of longing
covering the floors I pace
and still a solid block
slips of time
waiting to be torn
counting the tomorrows
that lie between
yesterday and soon
Mortar Undissolved Between the Bricks of a Heart
(for Andy Robertson)

Pieces break off sometimes
and land
and make
sounds of words
late and drenched
and marking
whatever surface is handy

the ones you had saved
for others
always fall in places
you save for yourself

And always form a shape close enough
to the same
that anyone who knows you
would know you
Movable Object

You were a foregone conclusion
the irrefutable argument
for and against possibility
an uncompromising presence
a resounding proclamation
of your inevitability
never a chance I took
for the odds did not exist
and chance was not mine to take
for my illusory doubt
you were not a questioned thing
never a choice to make
from an unknown quantity
in an instant you became
a simple statement of fact
theoretic to conclusive
in the space of hello
but time enough for me to react
to this new element
introduced to my world
directing what would now be its course
drawn away from the past
and pulled into the realm
of your irresistible force
My honest Christmas newsletter

I hope this letter finds you
because that will mean
I didn’t kill myself this year
and that is a triumph
that surprises me
as much
as it may alarm you

and I’m not writing this
to alarm you
quite the contrary

celebrate with me
the fact that the demons
didn’t win

and I’m here reading about
your vacations and spelling bees
your parties and promotions
your kids and dogs and degrees

and know
they all mean as much to me
as I hope
“I’m still not dead”
will mean to you
My Sister the Poet

by two wombs
in common
one that brought us
into the world
one that caught us
when we left the first
nurtured the unseen
then gave us
naked and screaming
to a life
that demanded
we tell ourselves
not only by the blood
but by the ink
in our veins
return to Poetry Archives