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The Quiet Family, Too, Has Its Drama

One sits reading,
his face a meeting ground
of several tectonic plates
that collide to form
his private himalayas.

Another sits in the bedroom
and sews.
She tries to stitch
past onto present
by making for her daughter
a pair of neon-orange
and-brown checked
bellbottoms,
this being the sixties.

Another,
preferring jeans,
wears the checked pants only once,
but in memory,
a thousand times.
The bright patches
of love and guilt
fit her so well.

Under the house
small boats float
on subterranean streams.
This is where the family members
meet eye to eye.

It’s dark
and their eyes glow
like stars
or hot coals.

The Penmen Review December 25, 2017

The Radio

As the performance
nears the end,
my father carries the radio
into the living room,
to his favorite chair,
and cradles it
in his arms.

He loves Brahms,
the flood of emotion
that carries you off,
and you thrust up a hand
out of the water
in joy or exquisite sadness.

How could he have lived
almost a century,
from a time before radios,
a child who picked cherries
in summer and skated
the pond in winter,
survived the world wars,
negotiated the new deal,
and then this strange new world
where his daughter hasn’t
taken her husband’s
name—how
could he have conducted
such a singular life,
and been so little heard?

There’s no applause
as I stumble to the dumpster
with the big old radio
the color of eggshells
darkened with smudges,
grieving in silence.

The Cape Rock, Issue 46, 2018

What Remains

She appeared
in a beautiful suit,
like those she sewed
for herself in the sixties,
before the currents
eroded her away,

and she beckoned
with a smile
and a sparkling eye
and led me,
her daughter,
down some steps
in near dark,
to some place,
maybe catacombs
where monks
keep the sacred remains
of their elders,

and you stirred
in my arms,
and the ocean
beneath us
rose and fell
gently with
our breath.

Pennsylvania English Fall 2017

Under a Winter Sky

The three emerge from bronze doors
ornate as the museum’s picture frames,
a couple and a single,
in coats and hats and a holiday mood.
They drift down the steps
discussing the struggles of humanity
as seen by the artist
under a grand cold winter sky
whose beautiful bruises
of brown and purple late-day clouds,
flowing, coalescing in the wind,
mimic the social clusters
floating into the street.

She of the couple,
a couple of many years,
slips her arm through the crooked elbow
of her mate as if into a drawer
where a beloved worn object is kept.
The third, a cousin,
whom romance has disappointed,
hangs back for a moment
watching,
then hooks her arm
ever so carefully
around the woman’s other arm
and they billow
into the bluing light.

Corium Magazine Fall 2015