Sprign 1989, Volume 6.1


With My Son in the Principal's Office Public School 317

attention deficient,
marginal learner,

She said it all
correctly and with
I, slow listener,
sat while her poisoned future
like a tightened fist, and
watched him slip
for that moment
through her fingers,
out windows
where the world was green.

He counted blades of grass,
warm in the sun;
ladybugs, and ants,
the multiplicity of pollen
on an iris beard;
pear blossoms,,
new leaves on silver maples'
parted crown.
He read the cryptic scrawl
of clouds,
spoke languages of wind
and in them sang
the mysteries of all that moves.
she rose to take my hand.
And in her grip I sensed
a studied crush of bones,
fractured wings,
stifled roll
of other drums.

If This House Should Bum

Catch fire, take fire, clutch
flame to tindered line
and burn-

Some night, let's say,
when through the deep
the astral bed of coals speaks
light to light,

Calls wild sparks, low
over subdivision roofs,
calls neighbors out
pajama clad to hose
down shingles

And watch lyrics, like warm ash, wind
blown over town,
ballade, villanelle ...

If this house should bum,
gentle sonnets might lift,
luminant and clear,
to touch the moon

And free accents of
these verses arc
and fall like random embers
against black horizon.


Some conflict arises tonight about
either travel or a family concern.

Spent afternoon through
a grime-splattered
windshield blurred the measured
shadow of this quiet man,
intent toward home in
January's growing dark.

The sudden blow stained
ice, left private
crusts from a lunch sack
strewn over the curb, the
elastic whine of ambulance
stretched into distance.

Evening sparrows gather one -
by one with dated invitations
for crumbs of this simple tragedy.
And from the comer of these
intersecting lines, morning
will rise, black
through a starless east.