Tag Archives: poetry

Despite What the Buddha Tells Me

Perhaps I will try one more time
to run away from my dissatisfaction,

despite what the Buddha tells me.

I’d like to linger just a bit longer
at the breakfast table
amid striped pyjamas and cereal crumbs;
replace the broken panes of glass
in the porch and attic windows
to hold back the winter chill —

to sit
and leave space for two breaths
instead of one.

Cloud Formations

Three poems —
one about the love
in a small bag of pistachios —
and two works of prose
sit unwritten in my notebook;

the spaces aren’t big enough.

Yet, finally,
as the sun rises,
I call my daughter
out to the front steps
where we sit and talk about
yesterday’s and the morning’s
cloud formations
and what they may tell us
about the weather to come.

She watches her own breath
in the cool morning air,
describes the difference between
cirrus and altocumulus,
and asks me my favorite.

At the Small Table

When I catalogue my regrets
at the end of the day,
I won’t include the moments we spent sitting
at the small table in the living room.

The old-fashioned fire whistle,
remnant of summoning volunteers
across the town,
punctured our long silence —

you picked up your head only briefly
from the sea-blue magic marker
before returning to your work,
tongue pressed in concentration
against your cheek.

We laughed gently about
a pair of dogs we could see
through the window
and across the street
jostling in the slanted afternoon sun.

You asked me not to leave —
yet there was never any chance;
my movement only a reach to the floor
for the morning’s leftover mug and a
sip of luke-warm coffee.

Sitting in Fold-Up Chairs

Sitting in fold-up chairs
behind the old brick municipal center
that once was an elementary school —

where paint is chipping from windows and
a cluster of two-by-fours and plywood
leans awkwardly against the battered dumpster —

we sip coffee from styrofoam cups and
watch our lives run,
exhorting our children with shouts
through an early autumn breeze,
as if the result of the game
meant more than a Saturday morning.

The first leaves flutter to the ground
out of a cobalt sky
as we turn momentarily
away from the field
toward idle conversation.

How the Children have Grown

He means well and offers connection
when he remarks how the children have grown,
that it won’t be too long before they aren’t around.

My daughter blinks her eyes
while my son mouths to me that
it isn’t true.

My own sense of the truth of his words
doesn’t make them welcome in the moment
of which they are now an indelible part.

Anniversary

This morning,
our children surrounding you
as closely as the faded sheets,

you were not mine alone
to whisper,
to touch —

the years intervening
since that day
when the air was thicker, closer,
and I climbed down the rocks
near your parents’ house
to swim through the fog in the ocean,
a ritual cleansing of my own choosing.

Each breath of that morning
had been simple,
even anticipation ceasing —

perhaps succumbing
to its own inability
to describe any truth
but an assurance of
love,
holding us both
in unborn arms,
vast oceans,
and summer rainstorms.

Summer Evening Wandering

Company is coming,
so I wander from room to room
putting things in proper places.

The night air is finally cool
as it drifts through the children’s windows —
I find reasons
to return magazines,
makeshift duct-tape wallets;
to drop off bracelets,
baby food jars filled with water and glitter.

I linger in each room,
the dim and waning light
shadowing small bodies as they sleep,
then turn toward the hallway
and the softness of an old
incandescent bulb
we can’t let go of
shining on the maple floor.

She’s Rearranged Her Room

She’s rearranged her room
and proudly invites her father
to admire the work.

It makes up most of her world
on this summer afternoon —
careful placement of
well-worn friends,
books for reading
in the pillowed corner,
a place she has reserved for
hide-and-seek
just behind the bed.

If you lie right there
you can reach the fan, she tells him.

Turn it on, she says —
it smells just like the outside.

Her father looks out the window
as he turns the switch,
the ancient glass curving the view
across the lawn.

It really does, he replies,
tasting in that breath,
just for a moment at
the back of his throat,
the back of his memory,

his own childhood
rearranged room,
just-so and steady.