Big Storm

The dark in the west is deep - 
A rogue chunk of night 
Drifting like an iceberg.
.
The breeze, spiced with damp earth.
Wind chimes blunder into each other.
Thunder roots in the edges.

Close behind this Gotterdammerung
The sky turns a page of blue -
Like reading a disappointing novel
In a single glance.



revised

Citronella! (Ode)

Nice day today, with the sun and all,
So I bought a new plant. A Citronella plant.
What a word, Citronella!
You smell like lemons (wasn't expecting that).
They say you keep mosquitos away, too,
So I'm thinking "bonus."
And such a surprising thick trunk,
Like a miniature tree, strong and straight, 
Spicy scalloped leaves,
All green and starched at attention,
Such a healthy Citronella!
I bought a new pot for you, too -
None of those plastic throwaways
On a day like today.
No, this is pastel orange porcelain,
With fancy swirls. And I laid you in that pot
As tenderly as a babe,
Gave you fresh stinky soil to dine on,
Tucked you in with cedar mulch -
But even in an ode to you, Citronella,
It seems I can't help but mention
That everyone's yelling about the government,
Losing friends over the government,
Can't think straight for the government,
But the government doesn't even know you're here!
So now I'm thinking "bonus times two,"
Something new for these new days we're having.
I'm going outside to smell you one last time
Before I wake up to smell you again, Citronella,
Please don't leave me soon this summer,
Stay young, stay green, stay lemon-fresh forever.



revised

Remember

Re-member, a crude stitching back together
Of something once part of me. I can sew
Any monster you like, shove it shambling
Into view with the thoughts about how the yard
Needs mowing or that spot just now on the floor,
Wood grain or cat barf I’m not sure, and uh oh,
Why now: that old cartoon of myself as a child,
Leaping out of the car in swim trunks, chased
By my parents’ hysteria, but my stupid joy
Hurled me all the way to the creek, I dove in
And my face and the rocks came together, then
I have completely forgotten what happened next,
For reasons known only to a part of myself
I will never be allowed to know, but I am still here,
My face unscarred but wrinkled, yet I don’t remember when
The wrinkles appeared, and that seems important, too,
But then most of my memories feel like the wrong ones:
The good, ghosted in wet sand with a gooey finger,
The bad, chiseled in marble by master craftsmen,
Each remembering more of a reminding 
That a Japanese man, asked how to live a hundred years,
Replied: “Forget everything as soon as it happens.”

After

The patio fire leaps and snaps
The moon slips through pecan trees
Islay whiskey on the table
The whispers of crickets

A few days past the hard tears
I held her tightly
Feeling the sad violence
The gasping the shaking

Now in cooling stillness
Tasting the smoke in our glasses
Together we follow the moon
Until it slides out of sight


Revised

The Small Winter

I refuse to wear a coat in the small winter,
After ice and snow have blasted their last trail
And left behind scarred refugees of field and sky,
An invalid sun still too weak to reach
The last ghettos of cold:
That chill in the garage as the door lifts to daylight,
A walk on a trail that briefly dips through shade
Into lingering air from the past dead months,
Those identical short dark days
When bird calls went off like sniper fire.

But now green constellations burst in the brown,
And the horizon burns longer before night.
The barking dogs sound sharper,
Less like humans wailing in despair.
The skin on my arms still puckers slightly
As I pile blankets back in the closet,
But my screen door opens wide
To a rebel wind inciting the bare trees,
The bright attack of a cardinal,
Red crest raised high above the patio floor.



revised