Daily Archives: March 15, 2014


What I
remember of him
was that he tried hard, always;
succeeded often,
failed sometimes,
until one day that pattern reversed,
his poles shifting; 

I recall
how he was
often cocky, often laughing,
poked fun at himself
as gently as he treated others
until one day that pattern reversed,
his poles shifting;

what I
remember was that he
once was sterling strong,
not perfect ever but secure
in both his flaws
and his strengths,
until one day his poles reversed

and when the ocean
rose violently in their wake,
he turned his face
into the waves
and at last relaxed
and at last

Sumac And Maple

This part of New England
holds so much 
roofless wreckage.
Every bitter little town
has at least one example:
brick and stone walls
around a decayed floor
full of rusted machine parts,
creosote-black scraps
of support beams,
and always 
the young sumac
and maple trees
sprouting and rising.  

Those ruins
are why we don’t talk 
to strangers easily here.
Too much
of what we have
invited to give us
structure and strength
has turned out to be

Nothing new lasts;
even the mills
we saved and restored
and refilled with lofts
and small businesses
stuffed with computers
and optimism
are emptying again,
and who knows
how long they will stand
intact? This is after all

the land of
stubborn sumac
and smirking maple,
mocking us from their toeholds
in our sidewalk cracks,
a day

when all we put here
will succumb
to their roots,
the weather,
and time.