It’s About Time

Today I want to invite the dead in,
show them to a well-padded chair,
offer a cup of chamomile tea, finally
ready to listen to them talk
about pain, narrowing of the spirit.

When they were dying,
each of my joints was a well-lubed machine part,
stomach ready for chocolate malts, stuffed peppers,
martinis, fried calamari, coffee as thick as sand.

Today, we could discuss levels of pain.
Now I inhabit the body of the stricken,
maybe temporarily,
maybe not.

“Here, I’ ll turn up the heat,
lower the shade against the too-bright sun,
bring a down pillow for your neck.”
Instead of turning away from their decay
I’d kiss each one of their pale,
sinking cheeks and tell them,
“I know. ”


Power of the Ephemeral

Shadows from the oak branches
scuff across the deck, always
in motion like a parade or army.
Lacking in color and substance,
they engage the fence and tremble
like fingers exploring a body.
They could be a tongue of flame,
exchanging heat for cool
afternoon breeze, but they
hold the eye, even more than
the oak trees themselves only
yards away—because, I think,
they are untrustworthy,
unsubstantial. Something
to deceive and hold you
while the real action goes on
somewhere else.