LIFESAVER

I missed her
by inches
braking hard skidding left.
Cat.
My first thought
but the glimpse of tail
as she fled to the woods –
Fox.
A girl for sure
like a cousin
who escaped my tires year ago.
I stopped that day
as she washed her mouse
in a puddle by the curb.
Calmly
not breathless with
near death
as I was with
near killing.
Today my record stays intact
not having murdered
with my car.

 

Not quite
I’m reminded
by another cousin.
Human.
Who picks the ant from my kitchen table
A boy I think.
He wandered down from my
vase of peonies.

 

Kathy scoops him up
and opening the door
sets him gently
on the warm patio stone.

 

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NICK

I met him once.
Kicking around kicking tires at a car show.
His cousin introduced me.
That mix of cocky and self-conscious
that is teenage boy.
I shook his hand with gravity
as I like to bestow adult status
on adolescents.
They seem to savor it
though they may disdain all else.
The month before I asked his cousin,
who came with his parents
to my home for dinner,
“Could I interest you in coffee?”
“Yes, please,” he said,
and his mother gave me the look –
amused  you’d call it–
as if to say
“Well, that’s his first.”
And this boy whose hand I shook
died that Spring.
Crashed his car just horsing around.
I met his mother the following year.
She told me she obsessed
upon every stupid stunt he had pulled
in his short life
and survived.
“If I’d been a better mother,
he might not have tried one last foolish thing.”
She surmised as I offered her
a cup of coffee.

 

DRIZZLE

damp hair and wet shoes

and balancing an umbrella and purse

and coffee and keys

finally managing to get into the car

and somehow closing the umbrella

then what to do with the dripping thing

crossing my lap and raining on me

all over again

like the umbrella was just saving it up

to drench me inside

very funny

mother nature

DAY JOB

I’m good at forecasts.

I look at figures .

I see their stories.

I know their destination.

The future is foretold in the tally.

The numbers are patient.

They wait in their inevitable trek

To the bottom line

While I pause

In the midst of the process

To write a poem.

HAWK

Back again
the yellow tailed hawk
atop the folded patio umbrella
as if carved from wood
the sovereign of the totem
my hand on the door
almost turning
almost stepping onto
his claimed territory
both terrible and wonderful
he watched the long grass
and I watched him.
The morning aggressor.

NOVEL WRITING

The pleasure
of inventing a person
is that you get to be
her for a time
and she may be
nothing like you
so you get to be
nothing like you
oh sure
she’s in your head
so she shares
your philosophy
but she’s taller
and younger
with a cooler name
like Willow
like Mercedes
lovelier
not smarter
she could never be smarter
she could be braver
and being
her for a time
you could kiss
more boys
in high school

AVOIDANCE

Fine.
Let’s not talk about it.
But it might be helpful
if you’d leave a little note
in your sock drawer
indicating your intentions.

Perhaps you want to squeeze
in between your mom and dad.
Or let your brother have the truck.
But let’s not talk about it.

Maybe when the time comes
I can ask you on the Ouija board.
if you aren’t still on
the Do Not Call list.

I’m thinking I might sell the house
and the Shelby
and move to San Juan.

You’ll like Puerto Rico.
The coquis will sing to you each night
and in the day
the sun will warm your urn.

By all means
let’s not talk about it.

LOVE LINES

The single and worthless glove
is exhausted
by English poetry
catchy songs
and greeting cards.
If Love be the dearest commodity
the inventors of language
should have found a word
that rhymes with pretty gifts.
Perhaps Lapphire
in place of Love.
Or rhymes with lots of stuff
like Ling
which would provide diversity
in dinner music.
But please
not too jejune
not Loon.

THE LIST OF US

In my father’s wallet
we found
one small sheet
torn from a notebook
folded and re-folded
sliced through in the crease
and in my father’s careful hand
were all his children’s names
and birthdates
and our spouses’ names
and their birthdates
and the grandchildren
a
nd their spouses
and in shakier letters
the great-grandchildren.
The conspiracy of years
s
chemes against us
but my father
refused to forget
and carried with him
the names and numbers of his immortality.