The Breakup

This was after we’ve both said bitter things
and the light’s begun to fade. We stopped
at a small fishing village outside Maine.
His stubbled face looked as composed as mine
on that overcast evening, as we stood
at the edge of the hard crag listening
to the waves beat against the solemn rocks
like relentless cries from the ocean’s heart.
And he took a few steps back and said, hey
let’s get back to the car and keep going.
And I thought maybe he too was afraid
to listen – this sound we heard everywhere
we went but it left us still so broken.
At night the wind came from the sea and made
the lonely grey poplars murmur more tunes.
He did not notice, and I – although I
didn’t believe there could be more – still I
sat up in the hushed car and listened.

 

Originally published on January 22nd, 2016 on my old blog. 

The Great Pine In Our Land

Between sunrise and bedtime,
everything is believed and therefore
blessed. I come from a bleak land
where the sun never lingers
long enough for us to trust
the open arms of darkness.

Sometimes night comes so fast,
like galloping steeds bearing shadows,
that children forget hunger
and kneel down to pray

around the towering great pine
in the middle of our land where
an old man hums a tune as he
gives his faithful dog a piece of three-day-old
bread. The pigeon comes and snatches it away
from the old man’s palm before the dog
could open its mouth.

The scene repeats itself when fish is absent
from the oceans.

Repeats itself when roses are unreturned
to the gardens.

Repeats itself when the dog remains hungry,
and the pigeon fattens by flour and stolen glory.

And above the circle of our praying children,
the scene repeats itself in the obedient bones
of our fathers, in the yellowing skins of our mothers,
and in the collected debris of our patient existence.

And it won’t stop repeating itself
until the distance is undone
by the lifetime of a poor laboring snail;
until it’s sunrise when everything is believed
and therefore blessed.

The old man, sitting under the great pine
in the middle of our land, never stops
giving bread.

Fall’s Kingdom

On the first day of your claim,
a newborn raises his fist to the faraway trumpets
sounded for the triumphant return of October.

A league of white doves, oracles from the east,
adorn your royal robe with rain-soaked wreaths.
Before the trembling days and the darkened horses,
there are rivers, bright stars, and you

of pulpy lips and fecund breasts,
from which milk of nacre flows,
and fattened squash tumble down
into the palms of our arid endurance.

Your hair is golden as the maple leaves;
your breath is the scent of an apple orchard;
your earlobes, sweet
as the ripened grapes hanging from heaven’s vines,
have been kissed and kissed
by the doting peasants.

On your brow rests the throne of a butterfly,
dignified and full of sunlight.
Those beating wings reign over your vision.
We shall never despair.
We shall never die for want of another lilac
for as long as your courage perseveres.
The hapless take refuge under your sleeves;
the unworthy flee like indignant black moths.
Only one remains. Only one remains.
He is the great oak beneath the harvest moon.
As he bows to your grace, acorns fall to their deaths,
a season’s offering, a tribute to your life.

Your Kingdom.

 

Originally published on September 20th, 2015 on my old blog.