Poetry

Transport

The control-room drones work their magic:Oh-three. Oh-six. One four seven five.Standing aloneTogether on our circular marks—The first time for eachBoth—we shiver,Unaware of how the magic works,Knowing only that on thisYourMyOur honeymoonDistant dreams await. At last the final sequence starts:Two. Eighteen-one. Fivesixfour. Streams of data,Yet bone, blood, mind—We fly.My hand in yours,Your heart in mine,Our minds …

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Engraved

Canting northward,catawampus compass needle,the headstone indicatesan uncertainly certain destiny,a terminal destination. Weathered by a centuryof snow, rain, wind, and sun,the marble worn faint,the markings remarkthe significance of the stone,the lines faded to illegibility,thin as a threadbare shroud: Somebody born in March,Eighteen hundred sometime,someone beloved somehow:Wife? husband? Perhaps.Daughter or son, certainly.Such is the stamp of mortality. …

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Moments of Beauty

for my students The poem was about death.The tyger, they said, is a monster.How, they asked, is that beautiful? First, the tyger is beautiful in its form:the symmetries of stripesand fiery balance of form with function.This monster is perfectionat thinning the herd. And, while death is anathema,the nemesis of the lyric form,the presence of the …

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Fairy Tale Ending

Once, I thought long, far too long, too hardupon possibilities, potentialities, predicaments—a weighing of costs, benefits, catastrophes,time lost, opportunities gained. Things, theyseldom appeared as conjectured, and I livedperpetually in (un)certain fear, until, happily(in retrospect), everything collapsed—       the castle burned       the slipper shattered       the dragon devoured          its tail       the wicked witch went          west       the knight dismounted,       set his horse running free—and eversince, I’ve lived …

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Refrigeration

“The most fitting subject for poetry,”Poe said,“Would be the death of a beautifulWoman.”And it isn’t that he was incorrect—The deathsOf beautiful women have inspired count-Less men:        Ἰφιγένεια       Beatrice       Caroline Beaufort       The Radiant Maiden              (whom the angels name              Lenore)       Mina Harker       Curley’s Wife       Bambi’s Mom       Norma Bates       Gwen Stacy       Beloved       Alexandra DeWitt       Lily Potter       Jenny Calendar       Trudy Monk And women whose murders, rapes, traffickings,TakingsProduce protests, marches, and poetryLike this. But did …

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Baptism by Night

A midnight shimmer,the full moon’s shine lake-side brings the alderwoodvalley to false dawn. A fish—unclear whatfrom a distance—leapsfrom the water,a suffocating quarter second, trusting to (let’s say) a trout’sarcane faith in gravity’slogistical power,buoyancy be damned. Piercing the surface again,an intimation of (re)birth,as clouds wash over the moon,returning the valley to sleep. © 2023, 2024; first …

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Annotation

If on a winter’s night a traveller —Calvino She heard me say“Queen of Denial,”but I meant the other one.1I had tried like a Penzancian pirate2or enfogged, noir, Chandlerian3to insert myself asa credible suitorfor naught; my whisper,apparently, a mumble. Sine dubio,4 as Cicerowould have averred5yet erred,Los Corazones,6 mine and hers,should someday be entwined. Perhaps this wasan …

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butterfly, a poem

what is a butterfly?the thing itself,and all that it symbolizes,and its appearance in context:spring to summer to fall. dissected into its parts and pieces,fragmentations—the once beautifulbecomes nullified and obscene,the pastime of bullies and fools. a Sylphina Angel on a pinis good, at least, to studystructure, coloration, and form.but it loses all of the graceand much …

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