The Pond

The fishing was never very good,
only crappie thrived there, small
and mostly bones, but the children
stood on the dusty road atop the dike,
and flung their lines, straining
to get them past the reeds.
Years of floats dangled overhead,
tangled in the telephone wires,
pendulums to the beat of summer.
Years of children, now grown,
watch the geese in the water hazard
of the new golf course and remember
crappies, and bamboo poles,
and their mother’s voices
calling them home.

Elegy

The sun came early. Light
where there should be no light.
The roses were too many
and too loud. Whether we lived
or desired, whether we waited to die,
or prayed for shade, we were separated
from what we knew and what we believed.
The smell of the dead, the way
everything shuts, was all around us.
You never called my name.

Burdened with the Truth

I have to tell you how the gull
soars on wings of wet,
pelicans sleep on the deserted pier,
fog brings droplets to coalesce
on the sweating window.
The shifting tides sweep away
the afterday, as though ashes
were a sigh of relief.
We who are left feel grief
surge under our fingernails,
remember what it’s like to lose
the peonies of youth. Or we drowse
like Sunday morning,
longing for a place so safe
it can’t be breeched.

All Souls’ Day

The windowless waiting
room, the pumpkin
molded from paper,
the plump woman
at the computer. The bowl
of candy corn, the folding
owl, the old man
in a wheelchair.
The row of witch’s hats,
the girl with a yellow scarf
and no hair.
The line of singing
goblins, the man
who doesn’t want
chemo, the string
of paperwhite ghosts.

Moonwings

Loons call sorrow
over the lake. Gulls
fade to black
as the sea slices the sun
to a sliver. From the pine,
the silver owl whoops and whispers.
The black-crowned night
heron welcomes the advent of shadow.
A mockingbird’s multilateral
sonata, the cadenza of the western
meadowlark. My neighbor
plays her violin.