Waxing Gibbous

There she is.

I wondered how she’d look tonight

when earlier today

I swept free the cobwebs from the legs of a patio chair.

Irritable and stately,

perhaps

half a cloud sliding from one nude shoulder.

Radiant and hungry,

no doubt

searching for the approval she knows she deserves.

Wide eyed and watchful

99.7 percent full

encountering the events of the world

just as it is today:

November on the coat of a cat.

Crickets at precisely 7:58 PM.

and my mother,

sliding in a pan of cupcakes for my birthday.

Light in the Window

What if all our little deaths

are as beautiful as fall?

That somehow

to someone

even the savage that swallows us

wears on its face

our sweet aftertaste

for others to see.

Who’s to say a leaf whirling casually

to its end

doesn’t feel in its dry vein

the same absurdity as cancer

or overdose

or a broken heart?

It all reminds me of this strange dream I had last night

where I inherited a mansion

historic and regal

the smallest one in a row

of like majesty

but in the basement

rats were eating other rats

and larger rodents paced in cages

Still

all I really remember now

is how beautiful the light looked in the upstairs window.

Nepeta Cataria

If I accomplished nothing else today

I planted nepeta cataria

inside the broad mouth of a flower pot

leftover from my grandfather’s passing.

I held a pony tail of her sticky locks

and considered long the origin of her species,

the ancient quality of dirt unearthed

with five extra heaves of a shovel,

and of Annie Dillard for no good reason at all,

ruffling the tips of winter-killed grass

with the flat of her palm.

Loving her not for those words

but for how they make me know her.

I whispered nepeta cataria

An incantation

for the animal of that root bundle

to rouse with startled delight

inside the dark.

Independence Days

I stumbled upon an old photo of us

This slow Saturday

breeze in my brain

turned it over

and there I am

on my parent’s roof with you

4th of July

grinning into the crook of your neck

our sleeping daughter beneath our bodies

on that tiny couch

my mom bought her for Christmas

I don’t recall seeing any fireworks until

we stood to climb down the ladder

Flowers of light collapsing

into ghosts

of themselves

that only I remember

I’ve had many independence days since then

each one stuck to the dark overhead

like constellations

I press my ear against

Atlas

How much can you swallow before it swallows you back

When the empty is heavier than the sky that he held over his head for losing

to Zeus

to Gods who have no business being Gods

I thought about that today

going back up the stairs to my office after a particularly shitty phone call

Miserable, heavy, hopeless

Holding up the sky on my shoulders, still trying to remember the name of that Titan

Atlas

and suddenly grinning like a Sufi

Remembering none of that

when a fat squirrel, one I’ve seen many times, paused just long enough outside the glass

Reminding me of my Grandpa who died when I was twelve

and solitary balloons still make me believe he is reaching out

that stupid squirrel made me drop the sky

and fall to my knees and laugh

There is no alone with poetry

Dead poets line four walls

Fixed eyes, thin skin choking on dust

Indignant, gracious

Quit looking for me here, they say

The best part of living is what you learn alone in the dark when the rest of the world sleeps

All the losing and winning

Brimming and seeping

from pottery shards unearthed in our lost worlds

No man can taste your power like my ancient tongue

The absence of Love is more passionate than the having

Drape my soul over your hip bones

Trail a finger from your hairline to the tip of your nose

Court us both with that storm punishing your window

Lust like a starving god after the you that has no body

Call out your own name

Whimper:  Open your eyes beautiful

Grin at the blond strand of hair you lift from my spine in the morning

But just know that was only the beginning…

Divorce

The TV could be on in the other room

You’d be on your laptop half interested in everything, nothing

Anything but me

Our daughter would be somewhere here; absently, greedily eating illusions

And I’d be dying quietly,

no differently than I am now…

Except that now I get to walk the catacomb like a priestess

reading aloud

with Jack Gilbert in my hands

Rumi

Wendell Berry

Annie Dillard

And think maybe I’ll start a little fire in the backyard tonight with the new moon