Florence

Remember when no one could touch us?
You were Superman
I was Wonder Woman
and cape, candles, and
a length of rope
were all we needed

Love at first sight?
I grabbed at you
like in a haunted house
frantic and wasteful
horrific in its lies
but she will not have you
my right to be here
is grandfather’d in

I remember when we arrived here
such hopes consumed me–
I tried to love you, my idea of you
my vision of us, your selfish words, and
my selfish plans coated with expectation
left us in the dust

And now I think I will die here
and never see Paris
or the Thames
never throw my wishes into the fountain
I will die here
and never see Rome
or eat figs from a tree in Sicily
and Florence is just a lady on t.v.

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The shortest day of the year

I sit in the dark–eyeing the window
the sky still stark, the dozen odd
apples clinging to the tree out back
slow about preparing my coffee I.V.
that life-blood we cling to
as the sun presents itself

It is slow coming, like me
the scent of coffee out of place in this darkness
the pillow calling back to me–‘linger a while’
my fingers on the keys tapping along
while my family slumbers
and day takes its sweet time to show

A glint of light says it is time, the
finger of God across the sky speaking ‘patience’
for in time all will be revealed
the plodding boots of winter, and the sun
that same star that brightens summer
will get in your eyes like every other day

quick, be in it
before it slips back behind the clouds
to hide with the gold
like leprechauns

self-seeking

I unloaded the burden
I told all of it to strangers
and old friends who thought better of me

because it was true
I told all of it
but I knew it was self-serving

an urgency to write myself
taking years to see
that I was the only one I was writing

all their heroes are thirty
just children when we were storming and raging
all my heroes are eighty now

and I see it all so clearly
like through rain as through a glass
as though we all sit together and no one

stays behind

together, maybe

my son laughed
at how many bookmarks I have
on the browser
afraid of losing something

I said
look at my book
see my Bible
all the little scraps
marking words and phrases
keeping track of the days
lost now

knowing my mending is stacking
too high to ever catch up
maybe
but start with page 23 and read to me
while I thread the needle

she doesn’t know who she is
all the clouds look like rain
every man walks by
in a white t-shirt and faded jeans

no one asks her
who she is
no one wants to know
where she came from

all her weather she brings with her
all the storms she leaves behind

yesterday, we

touched
wind chimes tangled with the drapes
the phone rang
ignored

an unexpected flood
(the ending did not come fast)
of memory

your blue ribbon
for tenderness after the storm
mine ripped off me–
disqualified
for fear of
fall-
ing

forgive me–the
edge reminded me
of slides and roller coasters

should I say sorry
for
the bite mark

is everyone having a good time

the punch line
is the group of words
that punches you in the face
and hits you in the nuts

a final shot at your back muscles
while walking out the door

the punch line
makes at least one person laugh
but it usually is not you

you and your handful
compressed in your palm until
the walnuts crack
picking out the meat meticulously

munching on them
without much thought of passersby
each of which has an iron fist
that may or may not be aimed at you

watching them brick up the unused door
morter scraped and slid into a pail

the punch line
after the life-long set-up
the kicking and shoving
about each and every word

until the dcor cannot be opened again
we are passed all that
laughing at nothing
and everything
wishing we had packed away
a knowlege of what could have been
avoided

a joke to the last
hoping for kindness thrown in
pity for good measure
the mercy that comes with time
and memory