Every muscle in his body

is made of no. He is lock.

He is bolt. He is chain.

He has swallowed the key

so no one can reach it.

I try to fashion a skeleton key

out of love, but can’t find

a place where it will fit.

I hand it to him. He throws it.





arrives in my bed

and curls her body

into my body

and rests her head

in my arms and says

she is scared

and always I tell her

you’re safe,

I’m here,

and though

I hate for her

to suffer,

there is this

small warmth


to me

by fear.





New erasers.

Ten pencils, lead number two.

Scent of ripe peaches.

Pent up quiet afternoons.

Callouses on the bottoms

of your feet.

A note from your mother

you’ll pretend

not to read.

The salt lick

of curiosity.

Left over sun.

Blank notebooks, three.

The drop kick

of love.










They look so happy in black and white—

my mother with her short and fitted skirt


and my father, trim and handsome,

escaped from his tux.


They are running to my grandfather’s car,

the one they will crash that evening,


but at this moment, they are still

in innocent bliss, dodging the handfuls of rice


hurled at them by friends.

They are out of focus, a blur of joy,


running hand in hand right off

the ragged-edged pages toward


that aqua blue Ford convertible

and all the other colors life has to throw them.

in a blue boat





on the lake

I whisper




that voices


The Opportunity




Moonless, the night,

and aimless, our paddling,

my son and I glide on the lake

and stare into the sky,

drawing invisible lines

for constellations—

the diamond, the maggot.

the spilt milk.

Our laughter ricochets

across the water.


Though I can’t see them,

I know we are surrounded

by lily pads. The flowers

will be closed by now—

something about the reversible

expansion and contraction of cells

by changes in water balance

and differential growth of cells

due to temperature—


but here we are,

my son and I, nocturnals,

lingering in the two-note hymn of crickets,

opening in the dark.



One Timing




watching the kids play

I consider we will never be young together—

not all flowers bloom in spring


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