Boy in a Boatneck Shirt and Clam Diggers

I wore them everywhere when I was ten:
vertical stripes of black, gold, white, and red,
with long white shorts. We lived far from the ocean
so there was nothing nautical to pretend.

My sisters were modish teenagers,
of a more fashionable age,
insisting you are what you wear.
I swear they had their hands in it.

Too nice to climb trees, but I did.
Too bright for hide-and-seek, but I hid.
I felt dashing and daring
but a little desperate perhaps,

adding cowboy boots to the “outfit.” Boy,
boyhood’s tough to wear: I grew out of it.

So Much Sadness/Sorrow Coming

The brilliant colors of the fall leaves, falling.
Migrating birds and their fading music.
The sun caving in to darkness calling.

The silent playground, the empty swing.
The valiant effort but the loss’s sting.
Stamps of disapproval, rejection piles.

The no that slams the door in greeting.
The no that pricks and slowly permeates.
The no that clots the heart from beating.

Wrong turns and exit signs mis-taken.
The dog’s tail-wagging in the vet’s sick stall.
Footsteps fainting down the hospice hall.

Wave upon wave, sorrow’s surging crest.
Swear to yourself you’ve done your damnedest.


The mountains haven’t moved because of me.
Winds rush past as in a hit-and-run.
The rain comes down regardless what I say.

The sun acknowledges my shadow
but cleverly gets me to stomp on it.
And waves wring out my footprints in their wash.

There’s little evidence that I was here
among the elements or gave them pause.
The sight of me sent wild things running.

But still I idled in the sun, and felt
refreshed by rain, and let the wind clear up
the sky so I could face the mountains.

And that was how I spent my life with you.
The years were fledgling songbirds; then they flew.