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Night | School | Wanting | Losing | Finding | Flying | Chance | On Foot | Turns | Confidence | New York | Favorite sequence


Gravity


My legs weigh five hundred pounds apiece
and my body at least a ton --
and to heave my feet forward
wearies my lifeless and sluggish mind

It always surprises me how your smile
can lift me
so that my thoughts yearn upward
and my toes reach down to
dance lightly on the ground

-- 1991


Eye to Eye


She has stilled my preoccupied hands
and calmed my darting gaze

She has bereft me of my facetiousness
to leave me bathing unprotected
in the glow of her affection

She has pacified my wandering wit
and wiped the accustomed smirk from my face
leaving nothing in my eyes
but a blunt and direct artlessness
in which she somehow finds me at my most appealing

She has shown me a new man,
small, wide-eyed, and uncertain,
whom I have not yet come to know

-- 1991


Wakefulness (Orionids)


Other nights
I have dismissed the darkness,
forgetting in sleep
the all-but-empty sky

Call me an eager acolyte
of the rational tradition --
I thought magic a wispy phantom,
conjured in insufficient dreams

I should have known --
I saw shooting stars the last three nights,
burning brilliantly out of nowhere
against an idle background,

just when I had finally concluded
that I knew every constellation,
when I had weighed the sky
and found it wanting

Between my lips,
your kiss lingering there,
I still feel the magic that
shakes the very stars from the heavens

I am too wise
to hope too much
yet I am happy to find that
I am smiling, out of nowhere

-- 1991


Seen

thing about turning fifty
  she said
  eyes full on me and ablaze
  a smile pulling at the corner of her mouth
the sense of life not over, but well through --
time to pay attention

-- 2019


Continents

            Her words and my thoughts
             are walking in parallel

    It turns out I have    she says
              a complex    and
             inner life    her eyes are oceans of grey
which not everyone gets    with continents of brown
                 ... if    there is a world in there
                   that    and I am starting to smile
                  makes    as I start to try
                    any    to count
                 sense?    all the ways to say yes
-- 2019


Library of Congress


Its exterior is charming
and rich with history
and yes you would turn your head to look twice
on your way past

but

unless you stepped inside
you would never know
its every floor wall and ceiling
rococo and resplendent with patient attention to detail
your neck craning up
and up
as the words "just ... wow" pass your lips

She is telling me about her city
and finding her place in college
and the never-quite-fitting of high school
and the irreplaceable freedom of being eleven
and the tangled forked reconnecting trodden paths
that lead
to this particular square of tile

Our fingertips touch
and our eyes meet
with a sparkle of recognition
as we begin to open
one book
from one shelf

-- 2019


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