To the birds

Eagle’s plume,

You dance on wind

And cradle the sun 

I am drawn to all Fathers

Who rock the skies to sleep

Sing to me,

Bathe me in affirmations

So I can soak in them

Whenever I am parched 

Yesterday my belly swelled with 

Your starry smile,

Each tooth a Great Wall

Between your tongue and mine

Today I am older

Happy 

To look up but not wish

To look back but not miss

Predation,

Only the empty nests

Where we left the future

To the birds

8/3/21

Rough Drafts

The impetuous screeching of cicadas,

suffocating Ohio summers with

their cries for attention

every seventeen years

like teenage hyenas at Head Row

desperately seeking prey

in the shadows

of disheveled baseball diamonds,

dust-ridden and ravenous

 

We like to believe

we can timestamp

high noon,

radiant and thick

with promise

 

But we are all bugs

buzzing with life

only to wane at first frost,

leaving crumpled carcasses

and rough drafts

rather than legacies

 

7-20-20

Rest Now

Mouth running like mascara,

hair tucked securely in the past,

she reaches for me with dewdrop skin

though it’s still not safe

 

Rest now

 

He shifts in bed until his feet,

now thick with summer heat,

hang just out of reach like forgiveness

 

I plant his brittle spine

into a nest of pillows

like a baby bird and he squawks

 

Rest now

 

Wiping the lunch from his face,

I think of how we are all children

taking leaps of faith

even after science shows us

that clouds aren’t beds of cotton

 

Rest now

 

Fly later

 

 

7-9-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Periphery

Tired

the kind of tired

where even your ribs ache

from holding it in

 

I breeze through a cemetery

where dandelions push

their blonde heads

toward the sun

to remind us

that life goes on

 

Even though I am not ready to move on

I have already watched you fade

into the old you and grieved

at the foot of a stranger’s plot

 

I am tired of losing you

So I leave you here, where I can visit

and remember the times when your eyes

kept me in focus

and forget the times when

they pushed me

into the periphery

 

5-10-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If

It is no longer when

but if

I’ll ever see you again

 

Nothing is guaranteed

so I cuddle the dog

and stare at the pregnant neighbor

as I wash the dishes

 

I wonder what it’s like

to bring new life into a dying world

She rakes the soil

to prepare for spring

and waits

for the birth of a new chapter

 

On gray days,

I think of the sun laden afternoons

in Yellow Creek

before I jumped ship

and learned to love a new town

and every man who would let me

 

The uncertainty was thrilling,

but this time it’s different

 

it’s grief-soaked and lonely

and infinite and screams if

until I forget there ever was a when

 

All I know today is I love you

If and when and always

 

4-23-20

Crumbling

Our thighs graze on the couch and I reach for your arm

The senator speaks through a lens and my eyes well

The world is crumbling and so am I,

and here is someone who says it’s ok to crumble,

just not to give up

 

Later, we pop a bottle of Eight Barrel Syrah

and dance to Billy Joel in our sweatpants

And I think of all the times we’ve crumbed

but haven’t given up

And of all the beauty we would miss

if we were so focused on ourselves

 

The world is weeping together now

maybe something will change

 

4-9-20

Patience

Dodging passersby like bullets,

my feet clap against the concrete

and leave invisible prints,

a timestamp of sweat,

 

I was here

 

But so were you

You linger in the breeze like pollen

 

Everything is shared now, even apart

Sometimes we hold our breath

because the air can kill us

 

We fill our lungs with patience

to keep them from collapsing

and make a wish,

even though there are no candles

and we can’t exhale

 

4-6-20

Shortness of breath

four walls

one breath

circulating endlessly

 

I can’t catch it,

even in good health

 

maybe it’s knowing

that you will die

that I will die

that someone I know will die

 

maybe it’s the rent

or utilities

or hard rain falling

on the bedroom window

when I’m nearly asleep

 

maybe it’s knowing

that we have no way out

 

you pace in circles

until the vinyl is worn

 

you wallow in nostalgia

until your cheeks are wet

and you tell me you texted her

because you worry

 

but you don’t worry about PPE

or the local nursing home

or the diabetic who raised me

 

you worry about her,

and ask “how is business?”

while she’s on a date,

vacationing in another state

 

as if there was never a virus

and we were never a factor

 

then you ask me why I’m quiet

and I say the oxygen is thin

(I want to share it, not fight for it)

 

3-29-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

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