I can hold a note
But just the one
William Carlos Williams Repaints the Red Wheelbarrow Then Fills It with Plums
Because once again, the rain
water has pooled, the chickens
have shit, and my X-Large Depends
are sagging and this is just to say
it’s after breakfast and
blue also is beautiful and—
this brisk morning—the shade looks lovely
as backdrop to the piled plums,
catching the light just-so:
fruit and day so cold
and so delicious.
Late Afternoon at the Audubon Sanctuary
Probably in her late eighties
Shy, not coy, smiling wanly,
She tilted her head and lowered her sight
Lifting it only as we passed on the trail
Through the scrub pines.
She’d been photographing
The trail map with her iPhone,
Steady as she could,
Taking her time.
He was ten steps behind her
Carefully reading a marker
“The Salt Marsh”; that’s all it read,
But he was taking his time.
In his bony hand he held
Several small white shells,
They looked like little children again,
Hansel and Gretel
Nothing to say, only looking
Touching the world in ancient appreciation
Perhaps when he was three years old
His parents brought him to the beach.
At the straggling slow end of the day,
On the long walk back to the car he stopped
To read some sign, the cracked and bleached
Shells in his little hand forgotten.
Maybe he’s living his life backwards now
And three years from now
He’ll return to his parents, and her, and tell,
“Look what I found!”
Game of Telephone
Now he is much more than a MOMA patron
He is the angry man holding the knife
while the guard throws the binder he was holding at him
and over two frightened French tourists who will later
recollect the event as someone who’s been stabbed in the
underarm. Other witnesses will report a back and a throat
stabbed. The video recorded a white man around sixty
with a colorful shirt under a black jacket and a blue
surgical mask. Fabian Levy, the mayor’s spokesman,
recapitulates: people were screaming “Shooting!”,
as if the projectile man who had just received a letter
revoking his Museum membership were anything else
than a New Yorker who had been in line with other
neurotic New Yorkers to get their MOMA tickets.
Jo Walker—a graduate student at Yale who uses
the pronouns they and them—were in the second-floor
cafe waiting to see Bringing Up Baby and reading out loud
with their friend the Wikipedia note on the incontrollable
laughing fits of Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant while
filming this endearing 1938 comedy in the company of
the trainer of the tame leopard standing off-screen
with a whip for all the scenes. “We had no idea
what was going on” they said to Alyssa Katz, the deputy
editor for a local news site. The circus had just started.
Three Hundred and Thirty-Three Barrels
are staring at me. It is well past midnight,
and I am indifferent to the random
tolling of time’s bells. I have taken
to dissecting shadows, twisting them to fit
my mind’s mood. The one in the corner
looks like Oklahoma. The one hanging
over my bed looks like Elvis’s sideburns.
I am sure that one is an omen
of an overloaded future I do not want.
I roll over instead,
bury my head in cool blue linen,
pretend I am fish.
This tank is suffocating, filmed in forgetting.
I start tinkering with the plastic
seaweed. Without thinking,
my fins configure a figure
that looks a little too much like a gun.
I drown in the idea of firing.
I watch the bubble float up, and feel
my body rising to meet them. I only hope I wake
—A. J. Huffman
Cathedral of Pines
That certain slant of August light is
Blended so with gold.
It sends its linear aurum through
The pinewood’s darkened hold.
There is, at last, no hubbub here:
Let silence all enfold.
In the church of the brimming forest
There is quiet all around;
The golden cozy blanket runs
From treetop to the ground.
Eager nature needs breathing space,
And peace now fills this glade.
The resting trees respire and
Infuse with their perfume
The tranquil spans of gilded light
That find routes through the gloom,
Shoot golden spans of lucky light
That coax trefoil to bloom.
The earth, too, lends its fragrance
Spiced with life and death, the both
This ambience has blended thus
For many a million years
Ere humans, and their gift of thought,
From beauty, hope had wrought.
Something is lost, something is found
In this solemn, rich cathedral:
In this is the church of our planet is
A grace that has no sound.
for both of us
in our own time zones,
the separating distance
longer in the darkness
between heavenly bodies,
and I welcome the slide
out of the day
and the distance and
into our spooning dreams,
like my cat sweeps me
ever more lightly,
finding a thousand ways
to barely touch me
with her tail
Tom’s Only Night on the Town
At Halloween’s curfew he takes to the air
`Tis Tom O’ Bones the drinkers all swear
Out of his home from the autumn’s cold ground.
The clink and clack of his joints are the sounds
Thirsty Tom makes as he opens the door
Of the Garden Street Pub, his life’s favorite lair.
Costumed bodies stand drinks all around
And Tom the winner wearing skeleton fare
Makes a scene of great joy and high spirits galore.
Into dark morning false freedom abounds
Revelers enjoying their night on the town.
But too soon Tom’s sated and finally aware
Another year ended, the dawn’s sobering glare
Pointing him homeward – a dry, lonely affair.
But he grins nonetheless, for the secret he shares –
A Halloween hangover needs a year to repair.
—Anthony G. Herles
I found an angel wing in the street one day.
A car had run it over, and a little boy was crying.
The Sun Is Fierce
I amble droopy from the parking lot
to the front glass doors of the medical center
a man as old as I am white hair and a cane
at the bottom step shivering uncertainly
I ask him if I can help he points to the rail
it’s too hot to touch as if it’s a swearword
I offer my hand his is all muscle
steady him up the first step slowly
a sudden rush two securities flying past me
behind him prop him up and upright
professionals who saw us from behind the glass
I yield the field as I head for the glass
I tell him I know how he feels
his response thank you buddy
I treasure that word
I leave him behind feeling giddy
hep hep in my step a little moment
but something humungous
I helped a stranger
Small Town, Upstate
rolling green hills
leaf peepers seek in fall
what we take for granted.
quiet, endless roads
a single stoplight
which begs the fear
of stopping too long
at an intersection
which is clear
a small town, upstate
with a gentle vastness
At summer’s end,
A gray storm fog
And loud blue sirens
Eclipsed the bridge:
I thought about Christmas
And coming home to you.
I went to the quarry
Looking for a proper stone
To put over the remains of the day
But it broke into a hundred pieces,
When I tried to lift it
So I put what was left
In my pocket, to save it