A Word from Bucephalus

When a horse loves you,
it believes;
it believes you have somewhere to go,
somewhere important.
And when you ride that horse
beware: it will carry you
over grasslands,
river stones and shale,
into battle and angry mobs;
that horse will go and go.
It will carry you
till its heart melts
because it believes.
So be careful:
be fit, strong, fierce—
this is not for sport.
When a horse loves you,
it will run itself into the ground.

By Its Cover

Beneath the ruddy skin,
a soft brown speck;
with stealth, it digs itself in,
all the way to the core.
Neither quickly nor slowly,
it infiltrates
and all the while,
the red skin gleams.
Displayed in a beveled bowl,
the apple has weight
worthy of a still life.
Still, the brown blemish grows,
deadens the crisp flesh.
The hungry artist reaches
for the seasonal treat,
anticipating its sweetness,
and tastes—
dust, mottled flesh—
a slap that shocks
then reminds
of a similar,
more costly assumption
involving hearts.

Canticle of the Jellyfish

more fluid than the sea,
scores of jellyfish,

white, lacy and golden
swim lazily, furling and unfurling
like ribbons in a dreamt breeze;

their undulations hypnotize.
their bodies bend and wave

like Baryshnikov,
making music for the eyes.
Creatures without brain or heart,

their uncontainable
beauty extols playful,
purposeless artistry.


An apparition at first, a wink in the sky,
something not to trust to the eyes, like a unicorn.
As I rounded the curve in the road, it made itself be seen:
streaming from the clouds, towering beyond the trees,
as visible as love, pale yet brilliant,
an echo of a glow against the just-rained sky,
a seraph straddling the highway.
I gazed at it as I drove, one eye on the road,
as if listening to a language I used to know—
the refraction of light drowned out engines and steel.
There it stood, a spectral advocate silently beseeching
on behalf of the disappointment-worn,
the steadfast finally scorched then peeled,
and for us all out of hope, out of hand, yet reaching.


Cloud by cloud
the bagpipes’ drone
sails by,
shadows gather
along the fading hope
of harbor lights.
Loss shines
as the fixed point
leads the weeping eye
to the vanishing point.
What courage it takes
to mark four, three, two,

one more empty chair,
one less voice to hear.
Cloud by cloud
memories slide
away from shore,
drifting, swirling
as an oyster catcher
vanishes at the curve
of the earth,
taking the future,
shape by shape,
away in the clouds.