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from Daddy Said

"...this petty pace"

I wait for the spotted dog beside me

to be gone, skinless bones buried

under yard trees in perfect grass

we mow and mourn.

I wait for the father down the road

to finish his fit , at 87, 

draped in a flag, tagged out

as if in a game of catch.

I wait for endings of all beginnings

to wrap our lives in

garments whole and safe as armor,

shedding from the naked chill of loss.

From Daddy Said

"Seasons End"

This might be the year of leaving,
this time when nothing has the leisure of waiting.
Tree branches are, a little fox scurries
for fish perished on the dam.
The moon, perched on sky smooth as a tabletop,
sits like an empty cup to be filled.
Dusk brings the smell of earth,
as farmers return to fallow fields,
pull up the fruits of vine,
swiftly yanking roots and stems
as if the planting had been a mistake.
I live in this picture, a shadow near the bottom,
hovering like the catfish in winter mud.


From Cast of Characters

"Letting Go"

Lennie squeezed soft things, often too tender
for his beast-big hands. Yearning to hold on
to beauty, his fingers gripped, his love too tight.

George loved tough, necessary to keep his promise
to Aunt Clara. Taking care of Lennie gave him
purpose, kept him from loneliness but forced
dreadful decisions.

George loved though enough to put a Ruger
to Lennie's head, sending him early
to their shared dream,
to the rabbits, and a life on the fat of the land.

From Cast of Characters

"Stupid Poem"

Students never understood William Carlos Williams' poem,
"The Red Wheelbarrow." They often exclaimed,
"I could have written that." And I replied, "But you didn't."

"So what's the deal with a red wheelbarrow and wet chicks?"
"Would it matter if the wheelbarrow had not been red?"
"No, it's just a stupid wheelbarrow."

"Have you ever eaten chicken nuggets?"
"Don't be silly. Of course I have."
"And who raised those white chickens?"

"I know. Processing plants."
"So processing plants have always existed?"
"Did you know any farmers?"

"Nope. We don't need them anymore.
We have huge grocery stores now."
"And the shopping carts are wet?"


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