The Mind of a Day
When you sit looking from a porch
through the mind of a day,
you see rain and sun bestowed by sky,
on each leaf and tree,
on the whole sea of living green,
clouds massing and vanishing,
breezes winging the scent of freshly-ripe lilacs,
neon-green grass blades
not yet cut this season.
You hear raindrops begin again,
each one separate from the other,
as a sky turns silver-grey,
radiant circles of light
growing in a rain puddle,
as a wind rises, rustling your hair,
equally with new-budding leaves—
the maple over your head, elm
across the street, the whole small town
among woods—so much to see,
when everything else falls away
and you’re free to look
through the mind of a day.
Sally and Pat
Sally lay in bed, refusing food,
waiting to be taken, in her upstairs room,
by the end she’d chosen.
The day before,
she’d thrown her dirty clothing in the wash,
exclaimed with glee: My last load!
A week later, Pat lay dying in a hospital room.
I sat by her bed, held her hand, read a book
to her and Mulberry, the man she loved,
the one she knew was a Roman chariot driver,
come back to court her.
No wonder he likes Nascar.
A year later, I dream
I hold a baby in my arms,
still feel the baby’s weight on waking,
understand it’s Pat, come back.
They say it takes a year or so.
Now, I wait for Sally in my dreams.
In New York Harbor
my father chose fire,
his ashes dispersed in saltwater—
no grave, no bones, no body
to lie beside his mother, father.
As the tide drove us seaward,
I didn’t expect the shadow
of the bronze statue,
torched and barely visible,
rising through the waves—
nor the motion of the silent craft,
engine stopped, cross-currents
pulling us back through ashes,
as if we or they were a sieve—
sure I heard his laughter.
When it’s windy and the waves rise up,
we kick our legs, as our arms,
through plash of water, plunge deep,
beating a steady rhythm
toward a shore we cannot see,
like sledding, but with less gravity,
the swoosh of snow in our faces
as its force speeds us downhill,
as we shift our weight left or right,
as we reach our gloved hands into snow,
as the sled carries us careening
around a steep hairpin descent we barely see,
at night with our flashlight,
a tiny beam leading us
through Earthly darkness—
how we enjoy it,
even reaching the shallows,
held by gravity again.
In the Village Store
As a woman and I wait
in a snaking long line to pay,
a man cuts in front,
and she catches him, insists he retreat,
but he, angry, I assume,
from last week’s election,
the President’s drubbing,
snarls: You’re one of the damn Dems,
and Not a lady, assuming, I presume,
that she wants to embody
such an antiquated state,
while my nose twitches like a rabbit,
caught napping in a coyote den,
wondering if I must choose
a side to leap to, as a chasm opens
between the chocolate aisle and the cheese,
as she points her finger like a light saber—
screeching his ass is as big as Trump’s,
fat, I might judge,
from his eating too much beef,
as she displays her blue-jeaned posterior
like a peacock’s tail, firm and toned,
I assume, as she pats it,
from dieting and yoga,
here in Vermont,
where he likely presumes
we all vote for Bernie the socialist—
New Age heathens in want of evangelical saving,
while we profess enlightenment,
but sometimes act like orangutans
squabbling over bananas
in the wilds of Borneo.