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


Going through my mom's old photos
I saw not my sister, but my mother's daughter;
not myself, but my mother's son

In the mirror I see
just another guy
Through her eyes --
all the world's treasure

-- December 2007


As hard as it was to let go of her,
it could only have been harder
for her to let go of herself --
seeing the strands slip from her fingers,
watching the disobedient unraveling of the soul
which she had spent a lifetime
so carefully weaving

-- December 2007


I open my eyes and raise my head
A thousand souls stand gathered for the start
	-- chilly fellow runners,
	or a line of my ancestors
		quietly watching me take my turn
The road twists down and out of sight
The sun rises over the mountains

Footfalls land lightly under me
Atmosphere eddies in my lungs
Blood runs richly through my veins
Landscapes move gently by

Death was yesterday; today is life

I am glad I came here

-- December 2, 2007
(Also in
On Foot.)


You can touch time
but not hold it --
like a biologist treading water at sea
while a mighty blue whale
passes under her fingertips

Feel its motion, its texture --
from the first touch of its snout
through its stunning midsection
until the last thrust of its fluke
sends you spinning in its wake

-- December 2007

Orionids Part Three

It is 3 a.m.
I am suddenly and inexplicably blinking and awake
This year my daughter sleeps next to me,
with her sleeping bag close and warm around her ears

Earlier, lying there looking up,
we traced out constellations
She told me messages she read in the stars
I saw only wordless points and figures of light
She told me, Daddy, you have to believe in magic

The earth, with us riding along,
has made its annual plunging return through the Orionids
Shocked and scorched by the sudden atmosphere,
a few of them end a billion years of silent flight
in a radiant burst --
afire for seconds at most,
but oh, the beauty

-- October 2007

Meteor Shower Part Four

Still awake in the dark
one vacation weekend,
we're sitting on the hood of the car,
in the warm breeze
looking up

She's jaded now,
no longer eight but almost fourteen
The starry vault of the heavens
has pivoted around in its slow entirety a half-dozen times,
through winter constellations and summer
Math is boring
One boy is jealous of the way she talks to another boy
Hoops dangle from her ears
Self-aware, she knows what her hair looks like at every moment
And she knows good coffee from bad

She points and says,
"Hey Dad, did you see that shooting star?
Do you remember watching for them when I was little?"

... Does not a forest
... remember the very rain that nourished it?

-- July 2013, 11:02 p.m.

Meteor Shower Part Five

Through the tent flap
framed by sharp black pine silhouettes
to left and right,
moonless sky glows less dark;
Sirius and Procyon
shine faithful and radiant
near old Orion

Almost sixteen now
High school half over
She tells me things now that scare
me but not her

She pitched the tent
and made half of dinner

    Six months old
    in bright red footie jammies
    she grinned and giggled
    as I held her aloft

A meteor shoots left

    At fifteen months she first wobbled to her feet
    grinning again

And another

    Before any of that,
    Her mother and I talked alone outside one night
    about this time of the evening
    about the idea of her:
    What if we ...

She sleeps

I sleep

Before dawn
in the same black-pine silhouetted frame
through the same tent flap
now strides Scorpio, high and elaborate

another side of the sky

-- March 2015, 3:48 a.m.

Meteor Shower Part Six

My lover and I alone on a pier at night
Perseids this time of year
Skies clear; quiet chatting;
familiar late-summer constellations all in their places
An I-think-I-saw-it or two from the corner of my eye
  -- and then --
a bolting bolide trailing bright green fire
    fully halfway across the dark star-salted sky,
leaving no doubt,
not even requiring poetic license

Same week
my daughter
  she of the footie jammies,
  she of the 3 a.m. tent-flap,
called -- happily, overflowingly happily -- with the expectant news
and it all begins again,
another cosmic cycle

A grandson as third copy of the self?
Certainly not; we are all of us different,
paths crossing just a bit in space,
lifespans overlapping just a bit in time,
personalities intersecting at the occasional inside joke
and the way-back-when memories
and some shared hopes
for more irreplaceable brief sudden-bright moments
such as this

-- August 2022, 11:53 p.m.

River Gods

A building on the hilly horizon
was a distant castle,
the river twisted downhill through misty forests
toward unforeseen adventures,
dragons spoke their cleverness with a wink,
and that contrail in the sky
was a starship entering the atmosphere of my planet,
emissaries of an interstellar empire --
hostile or amicable, I would soon find out
... when I was a boy

Now I know
that's an apartment building,
that contrail is traced by a northbound airliner,
full of tourists and businesspeople yawning over half-empty coffee cups,
magazines sitting open in their laps,
on their way to another city
much the same as their own,
and the riverbed,
running with snowmelt off the mountains to the northeast,
silts and gravels its way on a downhill gradient toward the sea
in a very fascinating and scientific way

Looking down from the airplane flying over us
back to my daughter --
I see her splashing barefoot on the riverbank
with the dog
but she's lost in thought --
she's a Naiad; her river wends its way toward Poseidon and Amphitrite

Thank the gods
for youth
-- Spring 2010

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