Poetry

From time to time I’ll post poems and essays here. Sometimes my own and sometimes by other writers I love. Here are a couple of mine from You Won’t Find It On a Map, a collection of poems that is wandering the universe in search of a publisher, in the company of many other fine manuscripts.

What Do the Hands Remember?

The hands went along with the body
wherever it went. They wept
when the body wept, trembled
each time the body fell silent
with pleasure. Salt and regret
left their mark on them. Babies
were entrusted to them, since
the hands were precise, and
enigmatic. Were they light beacons,
really? The hands opened calmly
like seeds, endured the passage
of time like a supermarket.
Bejeweled, tattooed, they were
never hungry, not for melons
or experience or for the Ever
After. A seamless universe had been
given to their keeping. Within the orbit
of their miraculous digits, lust, lacerations,
charms, prophesies. And in the long
memory of the hands, from the bed
of the blue rivers that ran through them,
the hands drank their full measure.
And then lay quietly, exalted, beside
the sleeping body, and waited.

— published in Narrative

Now That Mornings Are Cold Again

The neighbor’s rooster doesn’t know dawn from a thousand stars,
sleep all muddled with vigilance. Easy to mistake the light
for an orchestra. Easy to get lost, unfurl, call out
at the wrong moment. When we wake in the morning
the leaves are wet, and from the blue-black boughs
a squirrel hurls cones into scrub, small explosions of lust.

The way you feel when you fly across the country,
entering a cloud, the Earth disappearing. Supermalls,
a prairie, nuclear reactors, roads seducing girls to mirth—
you know they’re down there, though you’re full of doubt,
though you tremble. On chilly mornings like this,
you pull on a sweater, sit at an altar. We know nothing
of how the world is made, or who, when we turn,
will come to us. Not belief, nor thought, but being.
The moth throbbing against glass.

— published in Bluestem