How to dance

Always the world tilts dangerously
toward the brink, begging only
a finger’s nudge
–all it would take—
deftly moving aside
at the last moment
like a taiji master

a dance so subtle it fools
no one and everyone alike

the world does not end
does not even refuse to end
but continues out of indifference

–Wait – you say – it ended for me
and perhaps you – and I say
no, we are still here
even as we dispute the very
fact of existence, proof, you see,
of our errors

Alone in your burrow, you look out

You come from a long line of peasants,
you made a history of hunkering down,
of getting by, of making something
out of less than nothing,
of sly subversion behind
placid eyes.

Among your graves,
among the sowers and reapers,
the plowboys and goatherds,
the drunkards and healers,
are the graves of your lords and ladies,
as mute as the sunlight streaming over
hillock and headstone alike.

You haved loved them all,
in their soft flesh, in their joy
at being among the living,
in the depth of their bones
bleached under God knows
what sun or clay.

When you emerge, finally, blinking,
into the stumbling sunlight,
who will find you,
for whom will you pine?

A sky, unbroken

I sit under the unbroken sky
baby blue, no jet trails
and think of other days
so like this, a longing ago
when everything was alive
with wonder, when the sun

meant promise and possibility.
Under the unbroken sky, I sit
pining for the occasional cloud,
wishing up, as they say, a storm,
a world in my head
awaiting its cue.

How swiftly came the killing season

This first appeared in Exileschild 11/22/16. Strange how poetry adapts to its context.

How swiftly came the killing season
swept in from hinterlands
just when we had remarked upon
the sameness of it all.

How soon the must-not-be-named
became quotidian.
Weren’t we standing there,
thinking how wise it was

to not raise a ruckus
about minor disturbances,
how preferable to simply
turn our backs to the foul wind?

What good will be our platitudes
tomorrow?