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Nearly Dying of Exposure

For Lee. Be well my dear one. You were the font of all that is good and right in this world, the genesis of all that is beautiful and the wellspring of all that in creation is joy. I will see you later. I will.

On our way
home from the beach
We stop beside the car
For you to change,
Backside to the passenger door,
I hold a blanket in front of you
As you slip off your top
And drop a loose
Dress over your shoulders
Over your belly,
Mid-calf,

Neglecting to button the bodice
So you dry in the air.
And below the blanket
Your bathing suit
Bottom hits the ground.

As I drive the highway home

Still wet,
You place your feet on the dashboard,

Pull open your top just a bit more
Pull up the hem of your dress over your hips
and fan yourself dry

On the car seat

Spread out in the sun.

I almost hit a wall.
I almost hit a tree.

Bless you.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Family, Poetry

 

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I Believe in You

(A poem for Lee)

I believe in you.

You.
Like I believe
The Sun rises each morning and
The moon shades from light to dark then
To light again.

I believe in you
Like I believe in
The laws of Nature.
I am as sure of you as
Water runs downhill,
Cold contracts,
Gasses expand,
An object in motion stays in motion…

I am as sure of you as I am
Spring will come again and again.

I believe in you like light.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Family, Poetry

 

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But the Son of Man or Respite

I wrote this a long time ago. I won an award for it. I picked it for contests because I don’t like it. never did. But other people seem to. That’s fine. A mystery to me, but I’m ok with that.

But, it occurred to me, today, now… now I get this. How odd is that? To write something but not get it for nearly thirty years?

I want to lay my head

in the curve of someone’s lap.

Down

on someone who isn’t going anywhere.

I want to rest

and close my eyes

and be blest

by the stroking of my hair.

I want to feel the skin

against my cheek and lips

of someone who will let me in,

someone who won’t throw me off.

I don’t care

who or what they are

or how it appears in others’ sight.

I’m not asking for a year

or even a night,

I just want to lay my head

in the curve of a lap

of someone who isn’t going anywhere.

(Published in The Phoenix and the Dragon as well as several anthologies.)

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Poetry

 

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Gabriel Erector

At a garage sale last Sunday
I purchased an erector set.
Not an ordinary erector set
but one in a sky blue box
and in it everything I need
to build angels.

It’s an angel building kit.
Not the kind of angels
made of plastic and wire and
glue makes your head hurt
and the world dizzy spin.
Not like a model set.
Not like the kind of angels
who blow a horn
and my living room walls
come tumbling down
or talk in my brain and I go off
to fight the English,
but the kind of angels
who open rain clouds,
tug at grass blades until they’re long,
lift up the corners of a baby’s mouth.
The kind of angels who pull open irises
and make it so you can see
the chest of your loved one
sleeping next to you
rise and fall with each inspiration
even though it’s completely dark,
but you know you see it.

It’s my angel building kit.
So far,
since I took my kit home
and opened it,
It has rained,
my grass grew,
my irises bloomed
and I can see my loved one’s chest
rise and fall in the night
even though I have the shades drawn,
and it’s completely dark.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Family, Poetry, Religion

 

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Wishbones

There are two wishbones on my kitchen sink, drying, crusty. I pick them up.

After three days or so, they are ready; crisp and lucky. These have been here since Passover. Thirteen days. A strange superstition to wait that amount of days, perhaps, but how strange, really, when applied to the act of placing a wish on a competition to see who gets the larger piece of a twisted chicken bone?

I brush them off. Small bits of meat fall as particulate into the sink. In a moment they are ready – ready to snap under shear. Ready to bring us luck, offer the fortune released from within with the snap. From within? From where? It matters not. I know it works and it is ready to grant my wish.

The wishbones on the kitchen sink are waiting

Cleaned, delivered

They are twice sacrificed

Brought from the holy feast

Where we were by them nourished

Now brought to the hands of my holy one

Where we will again be by them blessed.

If memory serves – and it matters not if it does; if it is fiction or fact, since, as a memory, it is as real as anything can remain – we broke a wishbone our first week together. Our first week.

For years we broke wishbones and our lives got better and better, more full, more joyous in each other’s company. With each wishbone came newness and surety our dreams would take hold, bear fruit, ripen, become sweet.

We never asked each other what our wishes were. Never. For years those wishes went silent and bright and we knew, no matter whose pull broke the bone, the wish was certain to come true.

Then one day she asked. What was my wish? How could I not say? My wish was for your wish to be granted. Whatever it was, that your wishes become real. That way, no matter who got the larger half, it was your wish that would come to be.

I saw a smile. And just slightly, I thought I saw a tear. “Please don’t do that,” she asked. I deserve dreams of my own, she told me. And, from that time on, we each made our own wishes but, in those, the other was never forgotten. We continued on as before, bone after bone. Wish after wish.

I have them in my hand, walk over to the couch where she is laying and sit at the edge near her knees, place one on the coffee table, hold up a wishbone by a single end, the thin one, hold it low.

She smiles and sits up, takes the other. A moment lapses and we pull. Pull. It snaps and for the first time I have ever seen such a thing it has broken cleanly, evenly, straight up the middle and we each are left with a full half, an equal half. We stare at them.

No wish granted? Both wishes granted? I ask her what she wished for. It must be safe; extraordinary questions are born of extraordinary events.

That your wish come true. My wish was that hers would be granted. After the many years, it seemed the night for that wish again. Equal wishes, equal halves.

No matter, I say. I have one more. There is always one more.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2007 in Family

 

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