While going home, you emerge.
The corn in half shorn fields is paper dry,
crimped leafed, brushed black tips.
The beans were taken weeks ago –
their stubbled stalks ending in ditch bramble.
Under a low November sky, rain pressed fields
line roadsides miles in passing and passed.
Dark and undulating against the tumbling gray,
the Canada migration pushes south –
away from winter winds and snow to open waters,
furrowed forage and dropped bounty.
Your harvest memorial cuts through:
Sunday stories at dinners and after,
garden lore passed in spring planting,
morels and perch stones, sweet summer fruit,
fresh earth brushed from new potatoes –
our family narrative planted deep in Iowa soil.
The grace of a long autumn – the peace of sleep.
These whispering husks remember you.
The geese’s flight – a comfort in your passing.
Your perfect faculty
honed through practice
gives expression to
a family of rough,
Those that hear
just a little more,
a little longer,
feel the rhythm
of life thrumming
through their souls
in breathless dreams.
You play for all who
came before you.
When music casts you
into wild places marked
by spiritual abandon
and gives anima wing
with which to soar:
remember stories told,
and strings strummed
in cool autumn nights
lit by familial fires.
March 3, 2007
WET WEAK THATCH AHA
HI SOBER SKIT FEES
COOLED LOAFER WADDER
ACID BRAND TRIALS
GO GLEE PLOY
ZIP SNUGLY OUT
QAT OX PAX
MEND MIME HAM
left with TIN
and without you.
No one wins.
I knew I lost you days after.
I saw your foot prints in the snow –
but often saw them there, and so…
And I waited for you in the morning.
Then I waited for you that night.
I asked if any had seen you –
and watched for signs in the darkness.
Alas, your last impressions turn to rock
in slashing, hacking cold –
their lines a fleeting testimony
to a love that melted to memory.
April 19, 2008, 2014
Then comes the day,
the moment arrives,
in a gesture.
a simple glancing touch
– dismissive –
separates then and now.
From in to out
the forsaken, the discarded
fade to obscure.
July 27, 2006
Look at this hand – this wide pale spade –
deep furrowed knuckles on bent peninsulas,
their concentric crags like ripples on a flesh pond.
Stone flat nails, short and mooned pushing out
under cuticles arched taught with drying wear.
A broad hollow palm stretched with vague
crisscrossed promises of life and love.
I look at this hand and see another hand, another time
where joints are knotted with age and work;
broken, mended, injured, healed and scarred –
knuckles angled, hardened, stiff with excess and time.
They are my mother’s, they are my mother’s mother’s
they are my sister’s, they are my sister’s daughter’s,
they are mine. The plan endures though this hand is dust.
Where did you go
upon the year’s passing?
Heavy hung the cloak of your leaving…
for days and weeks, months…
your hand stayed firm
on my shoulder – until
I turned into your embrace.
I felt the warmth around me
but when I nodded
the mantle slipped from me.
Leaving me chilled to wonder:
was this discernment an answer
to questions asked long ago or
a phantom of grief sustained?