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“How unusual to be living a life of continual self-expression, jotting down little things, noticing a leaf being carried down a stream…”
—Billy Collins

It’s a bad idea to start a poem
with a Billy Collins epigraph.
Not sure if I identify
with my baby or the man

describing himself. Snow
falls on a frozen lake,
this day after this one,
that day after that. Owen...

The Afterimage

On spring mornings,
I carry my mug of Earl Grey to the porch,
settle myself in the splintering chair,
hear the rattle and roar of the school bus,
don’t move.
Resurrect my children’s morning natter
in the playful chirrup of the birds.
Decipher snapshots of their smiles
in the afterimage of the sun.
Lean back
and rock...

Reading the Signs

Praise to the red foliage in the fall,
giving us a focal point in the midst of branch and brown.
The bittersweet, holly, and hawthorn pendulous on vine
and tree, studding the fading green leaves—
the earliest of these carnelian calling cards,
the smooth sumac, edging the woods of trembling
aspen, willow, and birch. Later we exult at the red maple,
the pin oak that awaken our autumnal reverie,
shaking and waving, letting loose their leaves...

Jesus and Me and a Pack of Camels

I like to talk to Jesus when I chain smoke.
Tell him what’s working and what isn’t.
Ask him if the things I’m doing are right.
(I think by simply asking I’m confirming they aren’t)
    The daylight never really feels like prayer light
    And I get honest on the back porch under the moon.
So I talk and he listens and I listen but he’s silent.
I’m still learning his language. I think its carried by lunar beams and crickets and the gentle wind.
    Sometimes I wonder, if he was standing next to me
      As I pulled another cigarette from the pack
        Would he take it from my hands
          Or quietly offer me a light?


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