The Aggrieved

the aggrieved, the indefinite
the box of papers, the saved voicemail
the box of ashes, fine as flour

the light, the dark, the gray
the waiting for what
for what comes next, whatever that is

the leavetaking when no one was looking
the lost one gone mid-thought
a sentence that will never be finished

On the Soul

I was thinking of the soul,
that lone sock lost in the wash
which my more pragmatic part
insists must exist someplace
waiting to be found

I was thinking of the sock,
of how it might disintegrate
slowly or all at once, a mist
of lint still clinging
to the screen
and how easily one might mis-
recognize this, its new form

I was thinking of what
matter is, and of what matters,
world without end,
no thing ever created
nor destroyed, only
transmuted, both soul
and mateless sock, into the next
unutterable thing

I Never Fight with Anyone but Me

I never fight with anyone but me.
The rifts that roil this cell I wrought with my own hands.
Though another inmate’s face is what I see,
I never fight with anyone but me.
Any quarrel had with others is a plea
From the warden in me too, who understands
I never fight with anyone but me:
The rifts that roil this cell I wrought with my own hands.


It cups the custard, cradles the noodle.
I use it even when I don’t have to,
scoop under, then lift too too big a bite
to the need of my open mouth
which too for a moment becomes a spoon:
my tongue a curved wet shaving of want,
vehicle delivering a soupçon of what’s good
to all my yearning middle. Too,
some nights in a square of moonlight you
and I lie gleaming on our sides in bed
like silver in a drawer: discrete and neck to
neck, handle to handle, bowl to tiny bowl
brim full of just that bit which we can hold

The Sunday after Thanksgiving

The sky is scored with home-going, scarred hard
by chemtrails, as blue as leave-taking feels. A sky
full of daughters fleeing fathers of all kinds:
the one who wasn’t there, the one who got too close,

the one whose demons masked his face for so long
the mask adhered. A sky full, too, of fathers: staring
into space, reading the next line of fine print, working,
returning finally after half a lifetime. I come home

to find my father’s brain writhing with mice, its knot
of odd cells hungry, proliferent. They only want
to live and make more like themselves, so
how can I blame them, yet I do. My father’s brain

streaked with chemicals, with the exhaust
of sixty years. My father’s brain a nest of vermin
curled inside a warm wall, a mess of silent
vipers, a mist of life and loss. My father once said

his job was finding money, and now I know the cost.
A house that empties though it’s full.
A capsule hurtling towards the earth.

One Way

one way perhaps to
know the person you say you
love is to see them

asleep: gone far off,
alone, their face serious
and ungenerous

but soft, directed
down at whatever consumes
their nighttime mind

whatever makes them
grimace, contort, gasp, shiver
it is not you


My mother asks me to pray
for her and my dad, and I try,
but the words won’t start. The day
is grim, the clouds a slumped pile,
only my wit’s dim flare shows
I’m, thank God, not yet dead.
But soon he will be, and snow
will come and stay in dingy heaps.
Each night the moon will grow
then wane, then begin again. It keeps
its circuit, as I nurse my dread.
Dear Lord, forgive my concavity.
Father, I submit to gravity.
Oh Lord, as above, so below.

Hunter’s Moon

twelve moons gone
and then another
through my fingers
into the river

reflections shiver
on top of the water
the face of my father
the face of my mother

I see them whenever
the fall turns to winter
when I recall

the wind of November
that winnows relentlessly
all that is tender


I kept ignoring what you were.
You showed me from the very first
but it was clothed in silky fur.
I kept ignoring what you were.
Your hide was bare for years before
I found it was my unquenched thirst
saw water where lay only dirt.
You showed me from the very first.