Tsunami (Written October 20)



The first white waves come nuzzling

At his feet. Children, playing in the sand,

Watch as the water line is sucked


Farther and farther out. The mothers

And the fathers, with blankets tucked

Under them, and legs stretched out,


Sleep. When he opens his mouth,

To call a warning, nothing comes out.

The sky has taken on that intense blue


Such as only happens when the earth

Stops turning and the one true

Thing that can be said is, “Time


Has stood still.” In that moment

Every sound ceases except the chime

From the boat that’s been drifting


Off shore, with no captain and no crew.

The wave is larger than he’s ever seen.

He runs faster than he thought possible.

We Had Little Choice (Written October 19)

We Had Little Choice


That horizon seemed to ascend just a bit higher

Thanks to the smoke. A gray, imperfect twilight

Seemed to blanket the town, but the faint blue


Color and the smell of burning pine and spruce

Told a different story. We’d heard the news

About the threat of fighting in the north


Spilling over, inevitably, into the more

Populated towns to the south. The sun sent forth

Its golden rays, then vanished in the blue haze.


With our meager resources what resistance

Could we possibly have raised?

What could we have done


That we didn’t do? When the rebels entered

Our town we had little choice but to run

And save what we could of our lives.

Leaving the Island (Written October 18)

Leaving the Island


I can just make out what was left behind,

The lighthouse at the tip of the island,

The trailers on the beach, the people


Fishing from the rocks, the entrance

To the marina, the church steeple

In the little village, the inn


Where we stayed, the woods

Where we went walking, the lupins

By the side of the road, the distant


Rumble of thunder, the storm

That engulfed us, the flashes

Of lightning, the feeling


That we might not make it out

Alive, as we were sent reeling

Like outcasts of a ruined band.

A Stacked Deck (Written October 17)

A Stacked Deck


Don’t just walk away from me like that,

Stay a moment, say something, tell me

You still love me, tell me the only reason


You’ve lost your appetite for life,

Your joie de vivre, is the season,

With its diminishing light, or the storm


That’s approaching, with its sudden

Drop in air pressure, or the worm

In the apple that you happily ate


Half of, before throwing it down

In disgust. Tell me you have no hate

In your heart, only a feeling


Of being cheated, a sense that

Whoever or whatever is dealing

These cards has taken you for a ride.

It’s Very Delicate (Written October 16, 2013)

It’s Very Delicate


What harm is it doing to you?

Let him learn from his mistakes.

He’s the one who has to pick up


The pieces, not you. Your job,

For the time being, is to stick up

For him when he stumbles.


He’s at an age when he might

Turn and run away if he feels

He’s under too much pressure.


It’s very delicate. You can’t live

His life for him. He has to decide

What he wants, a life of constant


Brushes with the law, or something

Better than that. It’s up to him.

He knows what’s at stake.

Running, Running (Written October 15, 2013)

Running, Running


But still he is running, running

Against the icy wind. He runs

From the house into the starry night.


He runs from the voices raised

In anger. He runs from the fight

That never seems to end. He runs


Through the woods that he knows

Like the palm of his hand, as sons

Know the hearts of their fathers.


He runs through the fields and meadows,

He runs to the dark and dreary waters,

He runs from those he must leave behind.


He runs and runs until he can run

No further, like a whirlwind

When its time has come.

A Hammer of Nails (Written October 14, 2013)

A Hammer of Nails


They are the color of oats, the hills

I travel through, over winding trails

And rocky terrain, the slender birch


Lighting the way. And yet,

As if by some miracle, the church

Where we were married still stands.


But the farmhouses, in the valley

Below, have been abandoned,

Leaving nothing to take their place,


Nothing for the future.

Everything is a race

To the bottom. Here, we pledged


To love and obey, but that was before

We lost the child, and hedged

Our bet, with a hammer of nails.

Like an Old Married Couple (Written October 13)

Like an Old Married Couple


It’s interesting to hear the two of you talk,

In a sort of code or shorthand,

While all around you people come


And go, edging close, but not daring

To speak, for fear that a stupid

Question might amuse you


And leave you doubled over

With laughter, or confuse you,

Even worse, and trouble


Your precious peace of mind.

Like an old married couple,

Whispering sweet


Nothings, you move from

Group to group, to greet

Your many admirers.

Win-Win (Written October 12)



I wouldn’t go as far as that.

Let’s just say things could have been

A whole lot worse. For example,


If I had not taken the trouble to be born

Where would you be, unable to sample

The full range of my wintry sentiments.


How dull your life would be!

So take that as a compliment

To your sagacity, that you found


In me a mate worthy of your own

Bleak vision. Don’t come round

Me, if you think it’s such a raw deal.


I could have told you that

In the beginning. Let’s put a seal

On it, and call it a win-win.

The Man with the Goblet (Written October 11)

The Man with the Goblet


The man found holding the goblet

Is the one, we believe, who started

The fire. In the panic that followed


He was knocked to the floor,

And trampled underfoot.

For many, the only escape


Was through a second-story

Window, down an improvised ladder

To the flower bed behind the house,


And onto the clay tennis courts,

Where, a few hours earlier,

This same man, already drunk,


Shouting and swearing, in nothing

But a pair of tight swim briefs,

Had challenged his rival to a fight.