My poem “Where the Word Begins” is up at Amethyst Review. Thank you, Sarah Law, for accepting this poem.
Self-Portrait with Mandolin
of wood and
steel, I accept
frame our days;
Almond to tree,
sound in time.
I root among
When I cannot
see, my hands
find the way.
I’m honored that editor Brian Geiger of Vita Brevis has republished my poem “Bone Music” as an editor’s choice selection.
While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip
How do these things I once barely acknowledged
now snare toes or twist ankles, causing me to stumble,
spill coffee and curse. Steps, rocks, pavement, curbs.
Door sills. No matter which, without provocation.
Solitary wasps mate not in flight but in the vicinity
of their nesting area. Three years ago a female
violated our unspoken agreement of mutual
existence; my arm purpled and ballooned
to twice its normal size, and I demolished her nest
for fear that attacks would become habit. Today,
another builds in the same spot. I stoop by,
beneath notice, as she labors to make room
for eggs fertilized with stored sperm from a single
drone. Such diligence should earn rewards.
I stroll to the mailbox and marvel at their ability
to manufacture wood pulp for nests, how
certain species avoid mating with siblings
on the basis of chemical signatures, and that
they voluntarily control the sex of their offspring.
Ah, the wonders of nature! Approaching the door,
I look up and observe the growing nest with
admiration, enter the house without stumbling,
and inhale the fragrance of the perfectly arranged
lilies. The books on the table entice me, so I
pour a glass of malbec and thumb through them
with great pleasure. Soon, after sunset, she will die.
* * *
“While Looking Up at a Working Wasp, I Trip” was published in MockingHeart Review in May 2018.
Outward, the quest for
space and the wings’
hunger to unfold and
shed this home of dark
flesh and encompassing desire.
And each thing remembered, the broken
sheath, the flowering desert’s return,
reflects the notion of being, of intent
in action and its corollary,
the gift of living through death.
* * *
“Wasp” last appeared here in January 2017.
My poem, “Year’s End,” which is included in my micro-chapbook Only This, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Only This is available via free download from Origami Poems Project. Thank you to Jan and Kevin Keough for this honor!
If I lose myself in breathing,
will the air forgive my forgetfulness?
This oak, too, will stand long after
the last train exits the tunnel.
I worry that my friend may never
clamber past his lowest ambition.
Different and unabated, our words
now stumble over themselves.
Every night forms a morning somewhere:
each year, combined in our shared darkness.
* * *