Monday, January 12, 2015

Therapy Dog, Memory Ward

The woman is so small
her wheelchair looms around her
like a man's boot
looms around a child's foot

The woman is so thin
her bones loom out from her skin
like bent grasses waiting to escape
from an iced over pond

The woman is so quiet
her silence looms around her
like it is the snow
and she is last summer's terra cotta pot
forgotten on the patio

The woman is so close to death
her dying looms up at me
exhaling cold mist
forming the words in the air
Walk on; she's mine

And so I walk on past her
but the dog turns back
and rests his muzzle on her knee

Friday, January 2, 2015

Three Months to 50

I would like to commission a scroll
Suitably ornamented by monks
Listing the blessed gifts
I have manifested
In my half century of living
But I can think of only two
I never say imply when I mean infer
And I can blow the cover off a straw
and look so true blue
that when it bounces off your ear
and you look around to see who did it
you'd never dream it was me


My fists raised
I wake up
In the doorway
In the dark
And I feel the dog
standing beside me
leaning hard against my thigh

And I bend down
To put my arms around him
And the rise and fall
Of his breath
Feels warm against my damp shirt
And I say to him It's okay
It's okay now
And I know I am talking
To both of us 

Dr. Rx says knowing the details
Won't change a thing
Something happened
That's obvious
She says
But don't go lifting up rocks
You think it will help
To see what crawls underneath
But it doesn't work that way
I see her point
In the day
In the light
But in the dark
In the night
In the doorway
I want to see
the face of my enemy
So I can kill him
So the dog and I
Can sleep

Thursday, December 11, 2014

That Which I've Learned

Never place your trust
In a man who wears pointy toed shoes
Or a dog whose prick ears go back
In the fear position
When coyotes howl on PBS

Keep several grains of salt
In a little jar in your pocket
For when you go to church
The car dealership
Anywhere near candidates for office

The human heart is a hotel
People check in, people check out
Some will leave a five spot on the pillow
Some will steal the coffee carafe

If you say good morning to a tree
And wait quietly a few moments
You will hear it say The same to you

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Dog Writes Poems About Rain

All of the poems have titles like
Evil Water Falls Promiscuously
From the Sky the Gods Must Be Dead

In the park he stands under a tree
muttering phrases and counting out meter
until I give up and go back to the car
for the glove-compartment umbrella

Your mother's people herded Belgian sheep
I tell him
Even though he rolls his eyes at me because he's
heard this speech before
And your father's fathers were from Labrador
There's no earthly reason why you should
be so Evelyn-Genevieve-Priscilla about rain

Water is for drinking purposes only
He states in the voice of a narrator
of government health crisis videos
And hold that umbrella right
A damp collar one moment is pneumonia the next

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Why I Do Not Pick Up the Phone

It is the multitasking in the voice 
Or the impatience
Or the frustration
Or the words of wise counsel that make good sense and always have made good sense and always will make good sense
If you've got synapses like the Brooklyn Bridge but not a whole hell of a lot 
If all you've got in your head 
Is a rope bridge across a chasm 
In SE Asia

The last time I picked up the phone
Someone quoted Ben Franklin and something they said was Louisa May Alcott or Laura Ingalls Wilder and got irritated when I said it actually was Elizabeth Taylor's mother in National Velvet
have not picked up the phone since

And what would I say if I did
Save me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

This I Believe

When a shaft of sunlight
shines down on
the most comfortable
armchair in the house
and the dog has curved
his spine just right
into the space
where the chair back
meets the chair seat
do not shift him
so you can take his place.
Sit on the floor.