Low Tide (Written June 22, 2018)

Low Tide

The tide is out by the time we get there.
Rocks
line the riverbed, along both sides.
The banks of mud are almost vertical,

Where the water has washed away
all resistance,
in its rush to the sea, and only the grass,
on top of the mud, holds firm. In the middle,
where there is still some standing water,

It is no deeper than two or three feet.
Leviathan,
sea monster, lies with its belly cut open,
the same way a snake, a python,
must be cut open when it swallows

A human being whole, and becomes
so heavy,
so tied down, it cannot save itself
from a slow death. Cut open, turned
inside out, the belly of the river

Displays the intestines, sculpted
by the sea
as it sucks the water to itself,
leaving an emptiness, as the heart
feels empty when hope slips away,

Betrayed by gravity. The seagulls,
the herons,
the eagles too, what is there for them
to do, but wait for the tide to turn.

Everywhere He Goes (Written June 15, 2018)

Everywhere He Goes

She’s on the steps behind us,
smiling,
with her eyes shut tight
because of the late-afternoon sun.

It’s a genuinely happy
smile,
on the occasion of my son’s
visit, his second already
this year. He’s seen enough

To realize it’s not possible for us
to visit him,
so he visits us, as often as he can,
as he passes through our town,
on his way to his cabin in the woods,

Where he likes to let his dog,
Sarge,
run free. Everywhere he goes
Sarge goes with him, in the car,
on the airplane, to the office. He’s

So attached to him, he follows him
up the stairs
to the bathroom. In the picture we are
relaxed, standing at the curb, posing
for the camera, all smiles, with Sarge

Sitting at attention. I’m so glad
my son
is doing well, and visits more often,
and we get a chance to know him better.

The Bumblebee (Written June 8, 2018)

The Bumblebee

I see a bumblebee
flying
around the house,
from room to room,

From flower to flower,
searching
for something it cannot find,
some way out, or failing that,
some food, some pollen,

To survive, until a door
opens,
or a window, for escape.
The flowers we’ve gathered,
a different sort for each room,

Do not give the bee what it wants,
wilting,
fading, losing their petals,
losing even the sweet smell
they promised of spring.

The tulips in the kitchen,
fresh
from the garden, already
show some roughness around
the edges. The lilacs in the sun porch,

Cut yesterday, have lost their luster,
overnight.
The carnations in the livingroom,
on the coffee table, are more black
than red, and should be tossed.

The chrysanthemums in the diningroom,
set
in the middle of the round table,
look to be holding their own,
a brilliant yellow-gold color,

With dark green leaves interspersed.
Buzzing
around the mums, and over them,
the unhappy bee does not seem to think
there’s anything worth stopping for.

More and more slowly it flies,
running
itself down. If I cannot capture it,
it will settle somewhere and die.

Ode to Neighbors (Written June 1, 2018)

Ode to Neighbors

She walks to the bottom of the street,
scans
the neighboring yards, front and back,
looks to see if there is not someone

She could call to, engage in small
talk,
and speak her mind. For too long
she’s been confined to the house,
with nothing much to do,

Other than watch television, read,
sleep,
and maybe, on occasion, make supper.
It’s hard to muster the energy
to get out of the house,

In her condition, but once she sets
foot
on the street, there’s a lightness to her step
that she seldom experiences
when she’s cooped up in the house.

The street, however, has gone through many
changes
in recent months, and several of the people
she was once close to are no longer
with us. Eric, next door, lost his house

When he stopped paying his bills, now it stands
empty,
largely neglected by the new, absentee
owner. Lucille, our neighbor to the south, toward
the river, has moved to an old people’s home,

Which was not unexpected, at her age. The property
now belongs
to her son, who rents to his son and daughter-in-law,
whom we hardly ever see. Roger and Roberta,
in the next house down, enjoy a lively conversation,

Whenever it happens, and if Elaine is lucky, she will
find them
at the door, though these days they spend
most of their time on the back deck,
in a screened-in area, free of mosquitoes.

Paul, across the street, always has a friendly
word,
in the midst of his worries about his wife,
who has fallen ill. Lucy, who used to live
next to Paul, one house up from the river,

Sold everything and moved into an apartment,
tired
from years of taking care of the property on her own,
though she’s still fit as a fiddle and able to handle
anything she sets her mind to. John and Maggie,

In the brick house across from us, are the best
neighbors
we could ask for, they keep an eye on us,
if we’re in trouble, they are ready to help
when we call on them and even when

We don’t. Though fewer than before,
the neighbors
that remain, the ones we know, make us
want to stay here, in our little big house.