Snapshot: The Morning After

She walked out of the trailer
Into frigid Winter air
And left the boy she’d met last night
Alone and sleeping there

She heard the softish crunching
Of the snow beneath her feet;
And pulled her jacket tighter
To keep in her body’s heat

She walked to a convenience store
A half a mile or so
Where she bought her some breakfast
And a coffee cup to go

And as she headed back
She thought about the night she’d had
And said: you know this growing up
It isn’t that half bad

Swingsets (II)

He’s eighteen, he’s grown-up, and yet
He turns these memories over in his hands,
Like toys he used to love
But cannot bring himself to ever show.

It’s summer in the early night,
He’s wandering the streets
Of this hometown he cannot wait to flee.
He knows it’s time to be
Responsible, to make his way,
To cast aside the childish things
That meant so much to him
Not long ago.

He’s eighteen now, grown-up, and yet
He turns these feelings over in his mind,
Like some stuffed animal
He clung to as a kid when he was scared.

A block from plaza discount stores,
The playground where he used to run,
Negotiating sandy bits of conflict,
Now he leans upon the fence, but this
Has changed its aspect now for him:
Like noticing the castaway beer bottles,
Empty condom wrappers, and detritus
Congregating near the rusty barrels
Used as trash cans. Once, he only saw
The field, the sand, the swingsets, and
The other kids; but now he knows, that
Growing up means ugliness

He’s eighteen and afraid, and yet
He takes it all in, musingly,
For noticing
May change the way he feels, but doesn’t really
Mean the world has changed.

And still, he turns it over in his mind,
Like toys from Vietnam,
His father sent him when
A wooden elephant
Meant he would be back soon and safe;

But soon and safe

Don’t go together now

The Day of Her Departure

She heard the wind across the way;
Her chest grew tight, the sky turned gray,
And all she knew just fell away,
The day of her departure

She wanted more, she needed more;
She didn’t know what was in store
But wanted time – a leisure tour –
A world both ripe and larger

It wasn’t that she didn’t care
For those behind; it was that there
Were dreams that she had yet to dare –
To dance, to be a marcher —

Then one last time, the weather vane,
Perhaps a flush – a hint – of pain,
For she would not be back again,
Of doubts, no one could charge her —
No, she would not be back again:
The day of her

Summer Grass

Out in the country summer grass,
We ran our breathless races;
With frequent side-trips to the shade,
And splotches on our faces

Out in the country summer grass,
We sang our song of growing;
But of the clouds that gathered near,
There really was no knowing.

Along the riverside so bright,
We grew our nascent egos;
We whispered breezes into life,
And battled with mosquitoes

Along the riverside so bright,
We made friends just to have ’em:
But of the clouds of war and death,
We could not know or fathom.

For time’s a thing
That does not fail to pass,
Like breeze that ripples through
The summer


She Will Not Wear

She’s heard too many lectures…

She’s heard too many lectures
In this mental one-horse town;
She will not wear the chains
Professors forge to keep her down

She won’t be told what she should take
Nor what all she should give;
The way to fly is hers to choose —
It is her life
To live

Kitten in the Cold

She was just a little girl; the cat a tiny cat
She could not leave it outside, shivering in the cold…

She was just a little girl; the cat a tiny cat
She could not leave it outside, shivering in the cold
So after many tears and promises, and much discussion
Of how she would devote herself to take care of it
She brought the cat in to its new home
Her mother was worried about it, but her mother was also very proud
That her daughter cared that much for the defenseless

And the years went by, and her daughter grew up
And the cat grew old
The young woman blazing full of life and friends
The cat often neglected, often forgotten at evening mealtime
Until her mother would come to feed it, sadly
Still proud of her daughter, but also very worried
That the young woman had lost something important
Something beautiful about herself
Along the way

Attentions shift
Priorities change
There are places to go
Places to be seen at
People to experience —

The old gray cat
Still a kitten on the inside
Sits silently in the dark of the girl’s room
Blue eyes faintly glowing
Never losing hope


I was a serious first grader.


I started old. I thought it’d save me time
And get the worst of aging over fast.
A six year old who drank sodas with lime,
And viewed his young compatriots aghast.

For knowing little how hard life could be
Of vanity and struggle and the void:
These children, with benighted buoyancy
Were happy nonetheless.
And I?