Desultory Blackbirds

You know how every so often

someone will tell you how ravens

are among the smartest animals?

As if you couldn’t tell by the way

they track your progress along the snowy road.

No one ever had to warn ravens about men.

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Vespertine

May you sleep

Bone-weary and

Awaken fresh enough

To endure

The reality of your life

And with the ability

To remember your dreams.

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23

I am wound tight.
With every tick of my heart
two hands move clockwise
around the circle of my day,
and the hands are called
Stay and Go.

There are things I don’t know:
The type of caterpillars
in the upstairs closets –
much fatter than wool moth larvae –
and whether they are hungry.
How to catch fish.
How to find peace.
How to make a clock.

There are things I think I know:
Life is precious.
Water flows downhill to the sea.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
But there comes a time
when it doesn’t matter who’s right
if there is too much sorrow
and not enough joy
in the face of the stopped clock.

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Eternity

God
who made the world,
Stars Rain Sun Moon
with Your Word,

could You
give light to more stars
than You, Yourself,
could count?

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What was, what will be

If I told you my sadness
drifted like snow.

If your days scattered
like pearls on linoleum.

If I tipped the fridge
for you to look under.

Would you, barefoot, bring hot cocoa
with your tentative fingers?

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Unthinkable

You don’t think in a conscious way that it could never happen, because even that would mean to allow that it could, when it is, in fact, the unthinkable. But the world will always think otherwise, or would if it could. And so your heart is torn to pieces. Not into neat, square pieces like paper creased and ripped along the sharp edge of the kitchen table of your one and present life. Like the pound of flesh that it is, ragged, an urgent beating thing. If you could, you would press it, warm and sticky, against the white walls of power, making red-stained valentines.

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Refugee

I think we can all agree

that it’s a terrible conceit,

a self-important conflation,

when he says he feels like

a refugee            just because

he sometimes sleeps on the couch

and has to move his piles

of composition books and crossword puzzles

and tomorrow’s running clothes

from room to room, corner to corner.

He wraps his precious self-respect

in a tattered blanket of ego

and clutches it to his chest

as he squeezes on board

the leaky vessel of another moonless crossing.

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