The Weight of Smoke

Bottom Dog Press, 1991

Lost Fires

Coal seams ribbon from county

to county like fuses

burning the shadow of fire

across Ohio.

                          When the wind picks up,

trees bend down

to listen to the ground.

Quietly, from warm graves,

miners laugh.

Lying in a Mound of Leaves

 

I lie buried
under leaves, the ground
cold beneath me
like the floor of an Indian burial
mound, roof beaten by rain,
broken windows of light
scattered through mica hallways.

 

I lie still
and wonder if, when I get up,
the outline of my body will
shine on the earth like snail silver.
I hear my son calling and calling.
When I burst from the mound
he screams, then laughs, then runs
into my dead arms.

Whisper Gallery

Mudlark, 2004

Everyday Elegies

Pudding House, 2007

Sequential

 

The pen, the pad, the dog on my lap,

the end-table, the newspaper, the steaming cup of coffee,

 

the empty couch, the clock marking the empty minutes,

 

the branch tapping windowpanes speckled with rain,

the indecisive weathervane squeaking on the roof,

 

the dispossessed headlights streaking down the road,

the driver, lost but not lost, heading straight for home.

Vanishing Point

I have finally reached the inevitable

clearing in the woods, that place

where looking down the path behind me

and looking up the path that lies ahead

is the same as looking into my grave.

From nowhere in particular

and everywhere around me, dispossessed

voices whisper stories of my life

I was too young to remember

and stories I have not yet lived to forget.

Afraid of Heaven

Mudlark, 2013

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