Big Boy (Written July 20)

Big Boy


She shamed me on the street

In front of the school.

She did it on purpose.


What had I done?

Borrowed a piece of her

Clothing. Borrowed, nothing more.


I was ten, maybe eleven.

A big boy now, according

To her. I should act my age.


But it was no act. I was

A beast trapped in a cage,

Calling for help. She yelled at me,


And ripped them away,

Her precious panties.

It’s a wonder they didn’t tear.

Twentieth Wedding Anniversary (Written July 19)

Twentieth Wedding Anniversary


She brought me breakfast in bed this morning,

Which was a very nice way to begin the day.

We drove to Seal Cove for lunch,


Arriving at low tide, with its spectacular

Thirty or forty foot drop. On a hunch

We crossed the little bridge and walked


In among the abandoned smoke houses.

It felt as if we were being stalked

By ghosts. At Red Point Beach


We collected a cup of magnetized sand,

Digging as deep as our hands could reach.

Later, we visited the back-up power


Station at Ingalls Head Harbour, near

Where the ferry boat leaves on the half hour

For Whitehead Island. The boat,


Capacity fourteen small or medium-sized

Vehicles, was already afloat,

More than halfway across. The meal


At Seal Cove, with wine, and a dessert

Of bread pudding smothered in real

Whipping cream, was excellent, though


A little too much, and now we’re tired,

Ready to lie down, with nothing to show

For it, but the promise of love.

Imaginary Interview with Famous Author (Written July 18)

Imaginary Interview with Famous Author


The people in the village will tell her

We’re here, and she will send for us.

Everything has been pre-arranged,


Though she has been known

To change her mind at the last moment.

Her publicist has explained very carefully


That she will not take any questions

About her private life, including

Her present living arrangement.


I know what I want to ask, and it’s

Nothing indiscreet. Why did you

Settle here, on the island, so far


From your New York apartment?

What is it about the place

That keeps you coming back?


Do you think that some day

You might set one of your stories here?

The people, as you can imagine,


Are curious to know how you see them.

When you sit down to write, do you look out

Onto the garden, or onto the sea?


What is it about the sea

That inspires you?

Did you always want to be a writer?

After the Wind and the Rain (Written July17)

After the Wind and the Rain


Various red and green and yellow lights

Appear along the shore across the bay

From where we are staying.


After several days of wind, rain,

And fog, everything looks new again,

Washed clean. Places we could not


Locate are now clearly visible.

The lighthouse at the end of the spit

Of land, the little town where the ferry boat


Docks, the marsh below our cabin,

Cut through with rivulets of water, where

Geese and cormorants congregate, the island


Just beyond the marsh, with a long series

Of salmon corrals attached, from which

Boats come and go, and over the marsh,


Various birds, crows, gulls, and sparrows,

And once a lone hawk, flying low

And fast over the tall grasses.

Beneath the Grayness of Time (Written July 16)

Beneath the Grayness of Time


He stopped as though he meant

To say something else.

I waited, for what seemed like


A very long time.

To stay warm, I smoked

One cigarette after another.


Beneath the grayness of time, the floor

Turned out to be the original.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I thought


These meetings had a purpose.”

His hands turned into fists.

His face was the color of ashes.


The main thing was to avoid

These attachments. Even the sunshine

Reached me on a slant.

Today Lasts Forever (Written July 15)

Today Lasts Forever


She might not ever come back.

What had once seemed

A temporary rupture


Now felt permanent.

I had said something

To offend her,


And she could not find a way

To forgive or forget. The blind,

It’s said, have no notion of time.


Today lasts forever, and tomorrow

Might never come. What matters

Is what happens here, now,


Who is part of it, who is not.

It was her life to live,

After all, and hers alone.

Was This Her Father? (Written July 14)

Was This Her Father?


The child stared at him.

His eyes were black,

His lips red.


Was this her father?

I’m sorry, he said,

I thought you should know.


He took off his hat

And shook out his hair.

Was this her father?


It’s a secret, he said,

Just between the two of us.

Don’t ever tell.


He put his fingers to his lips

And blew her a kiss.

Was this her father?


I’ll always love you, he said,

No matter what.

Was this her father?

The Key (Written July 13)

The Key


For one reason or another no one arrives

To take care of me. I wait by the door,

Listening for the sound of the key


Turning the lock. While I wait, I play

A kind of game, in which I count to three,

Open my eyes and see what I can see.


There’s food in my dish but I’m not hungry.

I go down the stairs into the basement to pee.

The night, when it comes, is endless.


I try not to let my thoughts stray too far,

Or become bitter. I’ve never felt so friendless.

To trust someone and have that trust


Rewarded is one of the glories of this life,

But when that trust is broken you must

Try to find a new kind of strength,


An inner strength. Disappointment breeds

Resentment, even when you try so hard

To understand it. The key, I find, is patience.

Storm Tossed (Written July 12)

Storm Tossed


We huddled together under a tree

While the rain poured down

All around us. There was a low


Rumble in the distance, then,

Very close by, a flash of lightning,

A loud crack of thunder,


And the sound of a falling tree.

Frightened, we started back

Toward the entrance to the park,


But the path was muddy,

The roots of the trees were wet

And slippery, and we were soaked


To the skin, my daughter and I.

She walked ahead, stoical, grasping

The limbs of trees with her small hands.


Lightning continued to strike,

And thunder shook the earth.

Slowly, the storm moved away,


The rain stopped, the sky cleared,

And we could see through the trees,

Near the entrance to the park,


The little restaurant, with its shiny

Tin roof, and its welcome sign.

We walked on, with heads bowed.

Singer (Written July 11)



He knew things that no one had ever guessed before.

Talking to him was like a game. Only it was more

Than a game, a whole lot more. As he dealt


The cards there was something very unusual

In his face. It was as if, when he listened, he felt

The words. His eyes were the only thing


In the room that did not seem to move. His voice

Was a low hum, as if he were about to sing.

He understood very well whatever it was


That was said to him, and even more than that,

He was able to see beyond the neverending buzz.

Although his hands did not stop their play,


He could not tell everything he had to say.

But sometimes, at the end of the day,

All he wanted was to sleep.