Kills

A cat only brings home

one-fifth of its kills.

I read that online;

Do they eat the rest?

Leave little gray mice

cold, and barren on

sands of empty playgrounds?

Snakes and songbirds,

other small uncounted creatures—

their bodies litter the neighborhood.

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The Proper Number

A sizeable group of pigeons peck at crumbs in City Park on the afternoons she stares

into space from her bench, eyes damp with true wetness, that glassy look that

tells you she isn’t who she used to be, still isn’t who she could be,

and will never be who Glamor tells her she should be.

Least of all, she never became who she wanted to be.

The car parked in the yellow space across from her bench has electric windows,

the proper number of mirrors, and a working left front headlight. Bright yellow,

like the curb it’s parked next to, it burns into memory and all the windows lack cracks.

She doesn’t have one of those either, and the bread she tosses to the hungry birds came from

the deli down the street, three days old and marked to fifty-cents.

The bread she had for dinner came from the same loaf.

How do you tell the woman on a faded bench that you know her?

How do you tell the woman on a faded bench that things can get better?

How do you tell the woman on a faded bench that you’ve been the pigeon,

but you’ve also been the bread?

Published fall 2012, from the Open Window Review

Alone, Alone

Hare roams and ranges in a hurry,

while Tortoise lacks the grace of speed.

Swift and nimble, Hare’s in a flurry,

Tortoise breathes and never leads.

While Tortoise lacks the grace of speed,

the Hare breaks his leg in a hunter’s trap.

Tortoise breathes and never leads,

Hare lost his speed with a haunting—snap.

Walking the path with thoughts of glory,

Tortoise heard the shattering bone.

Through murky shadows, dark and weary,

Hare will fade—Alone, Alone.

Tortoise heard the shattering bone,

“Go back for him,” his mind would plead.

The Hare did fade—Alone, Alone—

Since Tortoise left him there to bleed!

Tortoise leaves the wood, his secret safe,

with cheers in his ears and claps on the back.

Slow and steady won the race,

but guilt weighed on his mind, in fact.

With cheers in his ears and claps on the back,

Tortoise smiled away his shame.

Guilt weighed on his mind, in fact.

He sold his soul, Hare died in pain.

Tortoise lived for many a year,

and never entered those woods again.

Hare on his mind, his heart did tear

and bleed each day since then.

He never entered those woods again,

In fear that departed Hare lingered there

to forever bleed each day since then,

and Tortoise lived (and died) in fear.

Written Fall, 2012

Egg Pan

A single-serve egg pan.

Smaller than a steak pan,

Smaller than a wok,

Smaller than a crepe maker.

One quick-cracked shell along the edge.

A yellow sac and juice sizzle in oil.

Kosher salt and coarse pepper.

A dash of Italian seasoning.

My father likes A-1 in his eggs.

I prefer them running and wet and raw

and He tells me I’ll get Salmonella someday.

That’s the point of single-serve egg pans.

I’ll take My chances and You take yours;

They’re smaller than mine really ever were.

Basil’s Letters

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dear Dorian

Beauty lies not in brash decisions that drive us,

                        Not the boost of praises earned,

nor mighty wins which fuel.

Not in the sight of something fragile,

                         or the low cries of a docile mind

nor tremors underneath thin skin.

Beauty lies not in these things,

                        in destiny that speaks,

nor the hands of fate that test.

Beauty lives not in strength of words,

                        Nor authority by which we’re bound;

no—none of these help us breathe in, or out.

 

                        Dear Basil—

                        The tenor of life is nothing more

                        than roses, blues, and yellowed hues

                        held together by subtle winds.

                                                  —Dorian

 

Dear Dorian

Could it be found among whispers from grand poets

                        The changing leaves all abandon their branches,

that embrace life’s color and spark?

Beauty may live alone in unlit rooms,

                        Simply dreaming droves of stars,

only there can beauty save an inward heart—

                          to reveal a soul’s internal wars.