Monthly Archives: July 2019

Vigil (1)




I can take a nap any time of day.
Five minutes at my desk. Ten

At the dining room table. Longer
In an uncomfortable wooden rocker.

My kids see it all the time, like
Clockwork; their father’s momentary

Ease. I didn’t see my father sleeping
Until last week after a long day

Of transfusions and transport,
He was asleep to the sounds of

Baseball on TV when I got
To his room and sat quietly by.

All the years of my life to see
His hands, his face, alive, at rest.




Time between the tides.
Horseshoe crabs guard

The low tide, bury themselves
Beneath the sand ripples,

worry lines on the sleeping
god’s forehead.


The thought comes to the edge
Gently, again and again. You pile

Rocks to keep it at bay. It’s not
The thought that will drown you.

The rocks glisten in the sunset
Where the thought caresses them.


Even tears big as jetty stones
Disappear into the thought.

It’s enough, you think, to know
If you just lay on your back, relax,

The thought will support you,
Hold you to the sky like an offering.

Before grieving


Before grieving

I could hear but heard the past most clearly, the voices in the moment
Warped like waves at a puddle’s edge bouncing backward

I could move but was walking ahead of myself, my feet traveling
over a landscape I could not feel beneath me

I could see but saw only context, I could smell but smelled only
The rainy earth of medicine

I felt time pass but my fear was a half-second quicker
than my certainty though they walked with the same shadow

I understood but like understanding a letter written to someone else
Or a message that once understood cannot be answered

I remembered but I remembered like a book where I’d underlined
every word leaving me with all significance and no sense of direction

I could tell the dying his own death story but in the telling fell
Out of my own life a stranger holding his father’s hand

July afternoons


July afternoons


God stays happy by not holding
Onto heavy thoughts.

Thirty minutes into snarled traffic on I-81.
Twenty feet above us. One white egret.

A flag across the dark gray sky.


A dozen swallows scry the squeezed space
Between roof and rain clouds.

Later, we walked up the street
To see fireworks rise, explode,

Penetrate into clouds which shimmered
For a moment like they’d been told

A secret they weren’t ready to tell.


The lightning shot through the house
Like the bead on the line on the monitor

Of a flatlining patient. In through the back porch’s
Sliding glass window and out the glass front door.

A moment later the house shook with sound,
Twice, as if God had a sudden thought

Too heavy to hold onto, then another.