One Spent Leaf

Leaves in their prime,
Open for business,
Conjuring fuel
For roots and
Trunks and limbs,
Give no thought
To us, yet it’s they
We have to thank
For breathing out
The very thing
We need when
Breathing in.

And when they hoist
The hues of summer’s end,
Their unwilled bounty’s
There for us again,
Their autumn art reward for
All our respiration.

And when one falls
And comes to rest
And waits for me,
A rich brown symmetry
Veined in black and
Glistening wet with
Morning dew,
I wonder whether
Any other death
Might be as fair
As that before my feet,
The final elegance
Of one spent leaf.

This piece appears in The Ravens Perch.

The Bridge Near Genoa

I saw the first photographs on Twitter this morning as I sipped my cappuccino at a local coffee shop. The broken geometry. A soundless astonishing gap where a great section of the bridge had been near Genoa. The rest of the day would be punctuated by new totals of the dead, and in the days ahead, the totals would rise further, and the grief would settle in, a fog of ache that would take years to thin and never fully dissipate.

This piece appears in the Black Coffee Review.

Drought Notes 2018

They’ll have something to say later about these parched weeks, about the heat, and much more to say if the potatoes die of it. But the chill of a welcome early breeze lifts the hair of my old arms, and I’ve no crop or garden under threat as I make my way down the hill, passing without comment the bleak gray walls of the shuttered convent where the nuns once did what they must have thought God wanted and where now the pigeons live in unruly spaces beyond panes broken by who knows what — winter storms or naughty boys or other free things.

This piece appears in the Tishman Review.

Where the New People Live

Don’t think I haven’t dreamed my way
Down the 8-Mile Road to the seam
Between the hollow and the world
Where the New People live, riding
The buzz of New Caffeine
And the techno-pulse of EarPod beats
As they eHuddle over MacBook screens
To code the next New Things.
But I’ve drunk the valley mist
And heard the owl on evening watch
And felt the fox brush by my feet
On silent moonless winter nights
And seen the blackberries waiting
For the birds and me, so I think I’ll stay
Awhile among the shuttered mines
And mournful diesel lullabies.

This piece appears in the San Pedro River Review.

5:42 AM

A cool, empty dark,
Untouchable for the moment.
The mourning doves
Still, dreaming. A wind
Turning in its sleep.
Bleached light of a
Shoeless dawn slipping in.
Madness sealed away
In bone, cupped
Indifferently in the give
Of a cotton pillow.

This piece appears in the Broadkill Review.