Monthly Archives: April 2018

Friday the 13th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

Friday the 13th

When I woke before dawn she was kneeling by the bed
Pale face so close to mine I could sense

The dark strands of her hair framing features
I couldn’t see clearly, only a glowing visage,

Undeclared intentions. Behind her, faces rose
Like in a vast auditorium. Two empty chairs

Just beyond her shoulder. She faded into things
Across the room, bin of clothes on cedar chest.

I got dressed and wondered who else was missing.

At half past six the grocer in the dimly lit produce
Section told me to “have a good night.” He was

Looking ahead, maybe, already beyond breakfast
Or trying to hold the night in place with a pyramid

Of bananas. I got the last raspberries and left.
One day won’t be my lucky day. I picked the paper

From the yard and threw it toward the porch.
It landed in a bush and I almost left it there.

The news can’t be as bad as if I weren’t around
To read it. Still, I’m frightened by that second empty seat.

Thursday the 12th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

thursfootprints

Thursday the 12th

Who stood there for so long
Between the road and the paved walkway

On the unmown grass as each child streamed by?

At ease, or mostly, for the prints are deep, and a casual
Shoulder width apart. Long there he stood, and not prepared

To run; yet the edges slur the grass as if he shifted
Weight from foot to foot, contained energy reined

By watchfulness. So he stood guard.

In the far corner of the school field
While morning did undizzy circles

in children’s shoes, each trip around
that gear of laughter pulleying the sun a few

Minutes higher up the year’s first flawless sky.

Wednesday the 11th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

Wednesday the 11th

The small city’s skyline is low-slung
Like tired dogs. A TV antenna, decades

Unused and tilted from last century’s
Storms — that could be my silhouette

Against the quiet valley gloaming —
Left out like a boy raising his hand

In a classroom emptying of light.

Tuesday the 10th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

deadend

Tuesday the 10th

A spring day as unsatisfying
As seeing the reflection

Of your math teacher
In the ice cream shop window.

Walking uphill to work
With two cups of coffee

Neither of which you
Can drink from because

Rain returning to the creek
Has undermined loose sidewalk

Bricks and because
You can’t remember

Which cup was yours.

Monday the 9th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

peoniesinsnow

Monday the 9th

You traveled
For the entire duration of your time in this shape

With the ease of falling
To be stopped a fraction of a second before

Fall’s finality — caught in a gesture going
The other way, like

Some make a trip to a place to forget it all
And take pictures to remember the trip

Sunday the 8th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

snow8th

Sunday the 8th

The way the weather ends
And begins a discussion

About everything surviving
The weather. The way

Unexpected snow falls
Like a silhouette of spring

Sitting patiently as we trace
Its shadow. The way the sun

Arcs like a baseball hit so far
It will land in the last parking lot

Ever, bounce off the hood
Of the car of the only person

Who stayed for the whole
Game. The way the car’s

alarm, like any true alarm
Will be silent. The way we

Keep score as if it all
Won’t be gone soon enough.

Saturday the 7th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

springsnow

Saturday the 7th

All the ghosts of the dogs
Afraid of thunder hide

Under the bed. The bed
Is not on a frame, two

Thick box springs on the
Floor simply shoulder

the mattress like Atlas,
or Sisyphus maybe:

Every night they roll us up
The hill of sleep and every

Morning we wake and crush
Hours of dreams into oblivion.

Underneath even that there’s plenty
Of room for the terror of loyalty.

I’d like to think the dog
Ghosts are what

Wake us up. They are more
Important than dreams

And they are afraid even when
There is no thunder, like today

There was spring snow, so light
That after hours it had barely frosted

The twiggy ground cover still waiting
For leaves. Under the box springs

The dogs shiver. The snowflake
Shatters like glass. Something left

Outside in the storm moans like
It is not the wind, after all.