Daily Archives: April 25, 2017

Four Facts To Use In An Obituary

He was never as fond of ocean
as he was of desert, perhaps because
he was born near the former
and didn’t see the latter until
he’d already learned what it meant
to long for escape. After that, 
he imagined joy as a dry place
that bloomed seldom but riotously.

He frequently had a certain look — 
a barely downturned face, 
sharply raised eyes and brows,
neutralized mouth — a look that said
he was judging you; not necessarily
in a moral way; more like assessing
the level of concern
he should allow for you
should your contact continue.

When he loved someone
as fiercely as he could, 
he could not love himself 
equally fiercely
at the same time.
He did not love many that way
but neither did his self-love
ever rise to such a level
that he loved himself much 
at all in the times
between those strong loves.

Upon his death, 
a white bird rose from 
the peak of his roof and
flew to the nearest ocean
to apologize. A brown bird
rose from a bush in the backyard
and flew to the closest desert
to apologize. A red bird 
rose from pavement outside
and flew to each lover in turn 
to apologize. A black bird
landed on an oak in the front yard,
turned its head down, raised its eyes,
and began the hard judging 
of the life that had just ended.

For The Sound

You think of this work I do
(when you think of it at all)
as the opening 
of petals, or veins.

No matter how many times
I tell you otherwise.
No matter how many years
I’ve been at it.

If it were the opening
of petals, 
I’d have long ago
turned to fruit,
fallen to the ground,
rooted as seed, 

If it were the opening
of veins? How red 
would your hands be if
every time you touched one
of these you then
chose to just wait 
for the next one?

This isn’t as easy
as simply blooming
or bleeding —

it’s opening, sure,
but more like cracking
a safe or picking 
a lock and then pulling 
a door until it swings wide.

maybe flowers, maybe
buckets of brimful red;

you can have those
as I live

for the cracking, the picking;

for the sound (my God, the sound!)
of moving doors.