November hymnal (23)
On Friday I avoid the streets and stores and wait.
For doors to open in the words.
You can’t just force your way in words. The stars
Would feed you to the empty hordes
Of night. Instead I balance on the clock’s
Left hand and hope the day will take its course
And let the minutes devour whoever they stalk.
Some days have guns. And hours enforcing a curfewed
Month’s thoughts. Silence on the phone
Between whatever tone you choose for it
To wake you from your dark jade dream to stone’s
Cold unpolished light. He wouldn’t hit anyone
He can’t enjoy, time. Enjoys the stars
Like fish scattering from the noise.
November hymnal (19)
After freezing rain, the slow burn continues.
Ice burns, air burns. Morning mist clarifies
Into a river’s moving lens.
Sliding faster than fire.
This will always be the month of my unbecoming.
November burnishes the mind’s naked bark
As the details drift down to a grass blade’s slow spark.
The recent past dead at your feet but covering
Everything. There is no forgetting
No remembering only
November containing everything
Changing past changed future.
And on the ground the hovering
Vulture’s static shadow.
Unrecognized local number texting
‘Why did you change to “might come”
this weekend?’ I froze. Daydreaming
Of visiting my father on his 85th birthday.
Death’s number is always local, no
Matter how far away he seems.
And yes, he saw my mother fall,
Perforated inside, and went into the
Woods with eyes half seeing,
To the retired cop’s house for help.
And sometimes I see him there
Among the scrub oak, out
Of options, unsure, trying to lead
Death away from the house
And that was the time I came.
Everything will be defeated
Every thing we thought we needed
Last day of May, first night of fireflies.
All the details of the day a blur and flicker.
Try to catch one and you’ll miss the all of it.
Look up and the leaves have turned black.
The sky pale as a wet cloth absorbs their dark.
The bat caroms off air with a voice we can’t hear
And at ground level the day stays a little longer
All that little lightning and no thunder.
Almost too slow for the eye, the lowcountry marsh
bends against the new season’s subtle color.
Above the snowline the years startle:
the flick of the starling’s iridescent wing.
Autobiography of Yes
Speak honestly with me — I am no decision.
I am an acknowledgment like a leaf landing
on the reflection of what it fell from acknowledges
it is not rejoining the tree but starting a new life
afloat on the agreeable other, unreflective,
its shape an utterance spreading out, unstoppable.
On a Manila Envelope I Once Tried Unsuccessfully to Borrow
The contents matter less than the request
though I didn’t know what I was asking for,
that I was licked, inside my own opacity
unaware the asking was my only honesty
from Spring Songs (12)
Midnight. In a corner of a room
a few days away, a half century crouches.
In the dark the corners of the years round up
certainty into the smooth black mast
against which direction flaps without words,
a trunk removed from its roots.
In the morning it is the maple and its shadow
unwinding along riverways of air and light.
The maple is old but the leaves always young,
the hours of the year, the half million
minutes through which we extend and end,
define the canopy of entirety itself by the shape
of what we miss. We shed time but are shaped by it;
wine on a quiet night, before crickets.
To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written 
I walk up my own street after sunset.
The moon is not yet up and the last streetlight
is behind me. Slowly, slowly I trudge up the hill
and slowly, slowly my shadow fades into the dark bricks.
I have lost myself and where I am going
but with no streetlights the roof has been taken off
the world. If I stood still I could find and count a star
for each of the eighteen thousand days I have lived so far.
Here in the dark stretch of street they are with me.
With my shadow gone and the dark bricks
pretending not to move at the speed of stars.