Tag Archives: Cape Cod

Creek, Cloud, Cricket

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Creek, Cloud, Cricket

I drove ten hours toward the gravity of mountains
Away from the withdrawing bay and on the other side

of the Cape the sea’s constant worry-beads whirled
In the many-fingered tide. I was home and a long way

From it. I was twenty trash bags tightened one at a time
With old things, stuffed with the past in a dark garage.

I was inert explosive. I was upright. My father’s lips
And eyelids affixed shut, his hands folded, all horizon.

Modest shadow details of sunset on a strange beach.
I was home and alongside the creek I was alongside

When my father spelled out the last word he said to me:
“Yes.” The creekbed’s brushed knuckles just below

The surface of running thought, watered down mountain
wisdom. Summer drifted like a jellyfish. A creekbed

Mumbling yes endlessly. A cloud over a hospital wing.
Ritual shawl over a casket. Spell it out slowly.

Dread lifts lightly like an August wasp. It has its own
Direction and settles according to unseen rules

Of behavior written in the humid afternoon air.
Eventually, after rain, crickets give the all-clear:

It’s too dark to tell if I’m happy or sad. If grieving
Is the rocks or the water, the cloud or the rain,

The pinpoint crickets or the spinning earth.

Night on Cape Cod

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Night on Cape Cod

Sister, the song keeps restarting
And each time it is a different song

With its insistence that nothing starts again
Not fathers or mothers or families

But the sunset our grandfather painted
Stays just where it always has

We believe the promise of wind on sand dunes
Surf on a tumbling shell

The house we grew our souls in
Where we pulled our mother’s memories

Out of albums photo by photo
To find the wrong name on the back

Or a name we didn’t know
None of our souls can outgrow

That house
The wind comes through the upstairs

Window like the house is breathing in
Before starting a song

Enough

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Enough

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

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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

The Draw

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The Draw

Almost solvable riddle of woods.
We are rooted in the underword.

Absence the untitled chapter.
The drawer of memory creaks

In its not quite closed position
Warped by incremental tears.

An empty house draws me
Dug into a soft hill of oak and arrowhead.

Crows zoning over the tree canopy
Level with the loft room windows

And my mother’s abandoned dresses.
Send a sand dune home.

The Mays

The Mays

 

I walked in the scattering
shadows beneath scrub

oak those Mays each step
Compacting years whose

Deaths I’d not earned
Such leverage from

Toward wild blueberries
And the cairns of earth

Behind the drive-in past
Hokum Rock Road and

Its eponymous stone dropped
By god or glacier– if names

Went the other way I didn’t
Care — if the stone dropped

The god and abandoned
There it turned to stone it

Hardly mattered — all the Mays
Sweetened to summers

The water warmed in the bay
And at the drive-in the boundaries

Of story cut corners of moonlight
Now decades later and deaths

Cantilevered one on the other
And anticipating the next step

After messages passed while
Thunder flexed against the rainless

Night comes a quiet whisper
In the trees reminding me

Of rumors in the scrub oak dark
The unvisited stone cracked

Down the middle a gap a child
Of a dozen Mays could leap

Squinting like a dimming eye
That’s earned all it’s seen

Rock before names eyes before
The warming waters

November hymnal (30)

November hymnal (30)

I have cast these songs as a spell
Against the clarity of faith and doubt

Drafted the lyrics on fog
Or as water freezing on a windshield

Light still coming on through
Not broken but improbable

Temporary refractions where
Nothing’s lost to trust

I have cast these songs as a counterweight
To wings who’d take me from creek wisdom

And these songs I’ve cast like rocks
Through the windows of sunday

Thirty days leave like clouds
over cold jetty stones