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

The soul is like Jesus

Bare feet in both worlds

Everything here has one

The dirt soul

The cow soul

The man soul

The sea soul

The bird soul

The world soul

I think it’s so we never forget each other

The Other

One     long     bridge

So time makes sense

Especially when it doesn’t

Ashes falling into my cup

I can hold my daughter’s compassion in firelight

one tiny log at a time

make it last

her ashes falling into my cup

I can hold the weight of the moon in my breath

one porcelain eye on my chest

make me see

her ashes falling into my cup

I can hold my soul in the sinew of both hands

one sacred goddess rising

make her return

as ashes falling into my cup

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