Poetry

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La Lune

 

It is round
It arrives
It shines
It reflects
It is the sun’s stepchild,
It comes out
It stares without blinking
It draws us to it
It approves.

It hangs out in cemeteries
It sometimes sleeps in a cradle
It watches without judgment
It hides
It is silent
It is still
It waits for brides to stop dancing,
It wonders

It is the desert’s flashlight
It is the night’s open eye
It sleeps.
It whispers to werewolves
and drunks
It blushes
It caresses schizophrenics

It permits
It reveals
It sings the same song to all
first-time lovers
It cannot hear politicians
It stays when relatives leave
It holds the gun to your head,
Makes incisions that don’t hurt.

It grieves like an old man
It cries for limping dogs
It is never jealous of you
or your friends
It won’t say goodbye.

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Moksha

Moksha is a Hindu word meaning “liberation” or “release.” I thought it appropriate for a poem about an older woman looking for a job. I don’t know about your town, but in my town, ageism is alive and well.  

Moksha

Looking out the bedroom window
At the breeze exhaling
Its frantic breath
Through backyard trees,
Leaves, like nervous
Bristles on a paint brush,
In a mad rush to finish
Another clumsy scene,
A cradle’s fast rocking
To the aching pulse of
Of Irene’s second month
Without work,
The restlessness of
Nothing to do,
Her mind rambling
Through stammering resentments
Of being too old,
Age arriving without warning
Or a reservation,
Legs hesitant to finish a stride,
Release denied, payments overdue,
The sun descending into
A crying child’s surrender
To reluctant dreams.

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Opioid Man

Was he about to learn,
Leaning over the rail,
The rush of dead leaves in his head,
A robin’s feathered chest
Dropped from the jaws
Of an eagle looking into
The dull mass of his eyes
Turnstyling what was yet left
To be lived.
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The Last Word

She had nothing more to say to him,
Or, so she thought.

A final soliloquy to decorate
The last exit?

A tired spring blossoming,
Ripped of its energy
By a fierce, aging winter
With its suffocating folds of snow
Matched the weakness of her resolve
To say one last goodbye.

Departures, she finally decided,
Better left to silence,
Avoiding the ache of closure
That never arrives
With the last word.

 

 

 

 

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An Aging God

Grace, a gift the unworthy
From an unknown lover,
Bartering as young gods always do
For more than respect,
Rejecting the cordiality
Of statesmen and underpaid doormen.

Who is this gift-giver, this once bronze god
Fermented into an old man’s unsteadiness,
Weak ankles, aching knee-caps, a lazy mouth?

Generosity cannot shuttle out of the arms
Of aging gods smoking cigars, one unsteady hand
Guiding a wheeled walker through the halls
Of the soundless stalks of the unrepentant.

 

 

 

 

 

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Le Désir

 

She was the object of somebody’s desire,
Like the faint shadow of a morning deer
Seen through the dead brush,
Fog lifting into its own absence,
Background to the primal hunt,
A new man frozen by impulse,
She, pretending confidence
In a shoulder’s shrug, brown focused eyes.

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Imaginé

She was silent today, another dry event,
Trying to train herself into the habit
Of not thinking about him,
But feeling the cool memory
That lingered in between
The cars she passed on the Interstate,
Driving to the summer cottage
On a winter weekend,
To sit quietly inside his absence,
Opening empty cupboards,
Breaking frozen branches,
Scouring the floor with her iPhone light
To find the small notes he left her
During the week, his monk’s notices
Of celibate days not working for him
But promising to let go
If she would make her truce
To surrender quietly to his words
Until, according to the contract,
He would leave her small blank pages,
“My robin’s wounds,” he texted her.

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William Pitt, My Blind Grandfather

He was blind, his eyes suffocated
Into silence,
In his grief, imagining,
His body’s stark opposition to
The innocent flow
Of children in bow ties
And full pink skirts,
Or an aging oak’s
Craggy shreds of skin
Once seen by the
Boy he used to be,
Eyes wide open,
Squinting against
An orgy of sun
His pupils knew
Could not absorb.

But now, in old age,
His eyes cannot remember
What they saw yesterday,
Austere, naked emptiness,
Burglarized by time,
Bargaining with his body
To hear more than
He could endure

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Mary Magdalene

 

Sometimes she’s there,
Tall as a giraffe’s neck,
Wondering, on her lunch break,
Whether it was the right thing
To do, but then
Agreeing with herself
That another child
Couldn’t bear
The night’s solitude,
Fearful as a street corner
Without a light,
In old age, a crossing guard
Shuffling somebody else’s kids
To safety.

Better to rescue
With a fast exit
From the sure pain
Of unraveling yesterday’s mistake
Inevitable as her last week’s lover.

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Six of One

Actor you’ve always been,
Wheel-chairing your way
Into your impoverished look,
Pants, with empty pockets,
Thin, liver-spotted hands,
Dry feet, hair, coarse
As a horse rope,
Eyes duller than
A kitchen knife.

You will recall
The stone bridge
Over the village creek
Where I chose
To feel the fever
You said started
As soon as you
Walked out the door
Of your summer cottage
To meet me.

Every August.

“It was never enough,
Like a bowl full of fruit,
When all the kids were home,”
You said.

But I never told you
It was sufficient,
Like today, when
I made another choice
To see you briefly
And leave you
To over-smiling nurses
And the sad odor of urine.

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