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From Somewhere at the Bottom

The great blizzard has laid
layer upon layer
of forgiving sameness.

From somewhere at the bottom
I dig out the newspapers
to sort and toss.

It’s dawn and I’m twenty-one,
delivering The Observer.

Dropped out, gone home.
Paper route—tranquil path
wandering over hills and stones
of the past to watch
the family

of rabbits
nibbling and scampering.
In the burrow they snuggle
together in a warm ball

but what a tangle!
A foot in an eye,
a furry ear crushed,

and when the babies have to leave,
they’re so soft—
and the hawk hovers.

SLAB Issue 14, 2019

The Brink

They stood on a cliff
at the easternmost point of the country,
like two trees stripped to the bark
and bent by the wind.

The aroma of evergreens
razored the wild air.

Before them the ocean undulated
like many hands knitting
in blue darkness.

Behind them were fields, forests,
breathing parents,
their own smooth faces,
and the mornings when they woke up excited
to drink a pot of tea and conjure
a new adventure.

They had heard there were whales
in the bay in that season
swimming wild and free.

Delmarva Review, Volume 11, 2018

Matching Hats

Coming toward you on the sidewalk,
a young woman herds two little girls—
pink coats, matching hats with pom-poms
that twirl on long tethers

and you smile. They’re out of a portrait
you’ve seen somewhere—hanging in a museum,
or glossy in a magazine or living in a book,
where their hair is the richest chocolate brown,
and the younger girl is frozen in a moment
of rising up on a single foot as if to fly.

But the woman frowns,
you have to assume, because you have no
pom-pom girls
(who would by now be adults), and you
are as irrelevant as that tree over there,
with the gnarls on its face.

Coe Review Volume 48, Number 1, Fall 2017

Rain on the Roof

at night
presses down
in fingers to knead
the dough
inside the head

on the pillow,
the head
that would
on its own
stir and beat
the batter
in vain
to blend
the bitter, the sweet,
the bland, the sour, the piquant.

Rain on the roof
kneads the dough
in the head that needs the rain
at night to make it whole
so it will rise by morning,

it is called upon
to rise.

Ignatian Volume 30, Spring 2018