Poetry

Posthumous

I kept your book
in the garden
where you’d left it
and watched day by day,
as the elements took it over,
sun bleaching the cover
rain swelling its pages.

From the right angle,
I could just make out
your hand drawn notes,
splayed across a corner of text,
the dog-eared page where
you had stopped reading
that sunny afternoon.

In time,
it settled into the loam
and there beneath the roses
framed and shaded in
hemlock and holly,
the book began to take root.

Before long
it stood as tall
as a sunflower,
sentences folded
into leaves,
spine extending
as a stalk.

And at the peak,
new pages began to form
as petals, stamen, pistol
gently folded origami
words not written when
you read the book.

Abstract and wondrous
prose and poems
from beyond the grave,
death having evolved your speech.

Fragments of memoir,
experience and tragedy
the travelogue of a dream
a journey into the surreal.

…such gifts they make of life here…
…blinding sun fractals bent at odd angles…
…Galore and Gore and Grammar…
…the pretense of time, alive and unending…
…my love my love my love…
…do not seek me here, for I am in the earth…

The thing lasted
almost a year
before succumbing,
despite my best efforts,
to the eternal,
withering, bent, and grey
I found it dead
on New Year’s Day.

Still,
I have the transcripts
those I could discern,
interred under glass
in a brightly lit corner
where sometimes
I simply sit and watch
and pretend that I can still
hear you out the window
in the garden below,
living, breathing,
and turning the pages.

Standard
Poetry

Color Into Noise

Up until the 1990s,
they let the peacocks
roam the grounds here,
temperamental as they were,
they would follow you
around the courtyard
and through the gardens.

The birds would
come and go
as they pleased,
flying between
the estate and
the nearby woods,
densely forested
though they were.

In the summer,
you could hear
them out there
most nights,
boys calling out
to the hens,
translating all that
vibrant color into noise.

Standard
Poetry

Secret Santa

I didn’t know for sure
until last Christmas Eve,
when earth and sky
shared the eerie twilight blues
and all the people seemed to glow
with rosy cheeks in
soft bright sweaters.

I was wearing
that tired black dress,
looking down at my children
and up to their father,
dressed up for the kids
as reward for being good.

They cheered
when they saw him,
Santa! Santa! Santa!

But maybe he is
too good of an actor
or not good enough,
because when I saw him
in that red costume
and white beard,
I realized what I was missing.

That night he was
a different man,
or at least
different enough
from the one I knew.

Here was a happy guy
the giving type
always kind
not afraid of a few drinks.

He was everything
my husband wasn’t.

And that was when I knew.

Standard
Poetry

The Winter Fox

I caught a fox inside my
house one morning,
his winter fur a flash
as he was running
down the wooden floors
and steps and past
the sleeping children,
’til he led me to a room
that I had long forgotten.

Under blankets,
wrapped in covers
where I laughed
with my brother
’til a knock came
from the back porch
like the second coming,
so the fox ran to the door
and he laughed as he answered.

And then we were both outside
in the cold, cold forest
the endless paths of winter
stretching out before us
and the fox is running free
on the ground and it’s snowing
and it don’t show signs of stopping
not until the morning
and I think that we can
make it if we just keep walking.

Yes, I know that we can make it
if we just keep walking.

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A Year in The Deepwood

Deepwood: The Unicorn

When I was young,
I sought her
because of her wonder,
that was all that mattered.

When I grew older,
I hunted her
for beauty’s sake,
wanting it for myself.

As a man,
I wanted her
for what she could offer me,
a legend of my own,
immortality perhaps.

I hardly knew what to do,
when I finally caught up
with her, one day at sunset
drinking from a cool, clear pool
in the heart of The Deepwoods.

We wrestled for a time,
but eventually,
I broke her,
tying her to an ancient elm,
with silver rope,
as legend proscribed.

She told me all
the secrets of her kind.

When she was done,
I ground her horn
into my satchel
and drained her blood
into my flask,
through all of which,
she was alive
to preserve potency,
just as I had read
in the ancient texts.

When I emerged
out of The Deepwoods,
I told no one of my kill
and no one laughed
when I quit the hunt,
putting away childish things.

I prospered much from that day,
in my mixing and dealings.

But as an old man,
I see her now in my dreams,
beckoning for me
to join her in the pool,
a dark glint in her eyes.

I wonder what
she wants from me.

I see her sometimes,
even when I am awake,
a brilliant white streak
at the edge of my vision…

But I am too old to be hunted,
aren’t I?

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