The Sailor

It’s been six years
since you released
your last exhale.
I wasn’t in the room

when it happened because
that is how you wanted it,
just like your own father.
I believe you felt

it had something to do with grace,
though I often regret it,
that I wasn’t there to hold
your hand, to support you toward

your next great opening.
Instead we were sitting
in that fancy white lobster
restaurant in Malibu,

your two children,
with the clinky glasses
and the aproned waiters
and the wall of windows

to the sea.  That blue ocean,
where you spent
so many of your years
losing yourself

and finding yourself.
You longed for the home
that was always waiting for you,
and we both knew it

the moment
you were gone.
We looked at each other
over the crumbs and shells

and toasted our flutes
of expensive champagne,
tried to celebrate you
as best we could

though the chain of our DNA
was ripping, and we felt it,
as you left
for that other horizon.

 

Day of the Dad

With the veil at its
thinnest I reach for you and
again, I touch love.

Always a dreamer,
your eyes, forever closed, were
the color of sky.

The mountaintop where
your ashes flew, the biggest
headstone I could find.

Skeletons in the
attics of our minds. Listen.
They are still dancing.

Simultaneous

Three Poems

Thick summer, ripe                           with stories,
with cherries, bodies                        on the news,
slow and sultry like                           violence, insidious as
a warm breeze moving                     our subconscious heavy
through branches bowed                 with the weight of it, we numb
with dusty wine                                 our thoughts, even as we reach for
plums and apple                               stems not yet ripe and crave
beginnings, green                             sweetnesses of life, not bullets like
hummingbirds buzzing                      broken streets and our psyches.  We are hungry
for fruit in all stages,                          for resolution, tasting their answers,
from sour to sweet,                           from truth to lie,
under a high July                               this planet spinning beneath the
sunshine where time                         talking, ticking like a bomb that
slows to nothing,                               shatters again and again,
and everything                                   everything
is changing                                        is struggling for light.

Tether

There is so little time
in the dark, my arm
draped round
your shoulders,
and yet so much,
throughout the passing
of one night, our bodies
turn this way
and that, fold one another
into the soft cradle
of sleep,
and in a love

that breaks our hearts
and mends them,
sends ripples
down the tunnel
of time and into paintings
not yet dreamed.
Oh, the brevity
of breath inside
a night room,
your hand in mine,
and also eternal.
One brush of lips

to lips adds forever
to the story. I cannot say
how it will end, though
it has already begun –
the moment
our hands pull back
that first curtain of sunlight,
we will already
be making our way
toward the open
window. Life is a balloon
inside us,

a spaciousness
filled by daily breath,
until at last our bodies
are lighter than this life
and we float
into the sky.
In the dark, my arm
folds round you
like a tether. We are timeless
and we are time, quietly adding
to the story of things,
even as we sleep.

New Moon Haiku

Everything I have
ever loved will become dust,
will become the sea.

May the things I have
seen, never become unseen.
May change come from this.

So many endings,
yet enough life left here to
hold each other up.

Beneath the dark moon,
tell me your deepest truth, and
I will tell you mine.

Roger

My whole life I thought
that I would write a book
about you

after you died.
I knew all along
that I should have been

taking notes
during the telephone calls,
which were

how we spent
a good part
of our lifetimes together,

and no less close for that.
You knew my insides,
and I knew yours –

or at least,
I knew most.
But by the end,

we knew everything.
It is impossible
to hide the soul

when the body and the mind
begin to fade.
And there are gifts there too,

in this great peeling away.
I am,
because of your love,

your truths
and your DNA.
And the only way

to say thank you now,
is to live
this extraordinary life.

Island

i.
In the rainforest,
life and death
at the same time,
in various stages of
green to brown
and in between.

ii.
What is the gravity
of the white moon
on the human body?

iii.
Barefooting along
the forest path,
she describes
the information
that she gathers
through her feet.

iv.
We are water
and so
is the sea,
salty and
transient,
with false edges.

v.
Night music fills
the shadow places
of the half moon.

vi.
You pull a human skull
from the grotto. The spinal hole,
foramen magnum,
lets in the idea of sunlight
for the first time
in a century or more.

vii.
Three generations tell stories
of the things they have seen
so far. They pass the bread.
They pass the wine. Three
generations listen. They pass
the salt. They pass the water.