The Widower Speaks

Appoint not the silence
as thy messenger:

One cannot predict
how much it will say.

photograph by Piotr ZgodziƄski


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging; such a wagoner
As Phaeton would whip you to the west
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaways' eyes may wink, and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties: or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night.--Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night;--come, Romeo;--come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than snow upon a raven's back.
Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Wm. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 2
Photograph by Elia Cherici


My Father Dropped Me

When I was ten, we were dancing; I dipped
and he let go. That short fall broke three of my toes:
cold crutches in the winter, a cast across
icy steps. As these things do

the bones grew in
crooked, each node an accusation,
each weakness a knowing nod. Last year
the x-rays showed exactly what

needed to be done. In an ice storm
this March I clenched my teeth, watched
as my own hands rebroke those bones.

photograph ©Laura Kicey


Ode Upon the Poem I Can't Remember

Horse. There was a horse,
and a tall girl also. I want to say one blue eye,
one green, but maybe that was the horse?
He broke her heart--the poet, that is,
broke the girl's heart,
not the horse's. I think.
It all comes in sepia flashes,
as though I'm the one writing it.

A rusted car is parked and stuck
armpit-high in the meadow; abandoned
or occupied I can't tell.
Blonde grass; a sheepish kiss
in porchlight before
she creeps in after curfew.

photograph by Rico Moran.
Does anyone have any idea what this poem is? I'm starting to believe I dreamt it, but my dreams are never this well-composed or meaningful.


The Axis

White moths have crept through the cracks
in the window screens and now they trace
dizzy spirals over my snowdrift comforter. Up
to the lights in the high ceiling, down again,
dazed, disoriented, more in love than ever
with what they believe is the moon.

photograph by Paul Tyler


The Young Poetess Is Misunderstood

"It's such a shame," she thinks, "that in
Their long lives and studies They
Have not known great art."

But, her villanelles remind her,
nobody who is truly great
Is ever understood in her time.

Better to wait,
muse the elegies, until
The hundred-year anniversary
Of your death: see what They think then.

By then, Mistress, you will be so fine, so carved
Of stars and draped in ribbons that even They
Will smile.


Early Fireworks

We named an entire forest of treetops,
Their heads bursting into life, then
Fading out fast like the faces
Of movie stars. Layered, stacked, three
Skies’ worth of foliage, painted
In the disappearing ink of gunpowder and flame.
We saw a shower of dogwoods, petals
Popping into bloom.
You pointed at the branches
Of the heavenly apple tree.

And every so often,
Like a fast-repeating New Year’s Eve
Or the rebirth of the Buddha--
The trailing golden arms
Of the God-sized weeping willow,
The same revelation every time.

photograph by Rob and Briony

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