Thursday, June 04, 2009


(a response to "Surprise" by Billy Collins)

I am told by the announcer
of some public broadcasting show--
is the birthday of William Wordsworth.

He would be 238 years old today,
quite bent over, I would imagine,
weighed down by age and dust, and dreaming
of an abbey wreathed in fog.

Surely he would admonish our propensity
for billboards and high-rises,
shaking his bald head, his bony finger,
the world being "too much with us"
and all that.

But he would soon overlook his misgivings,
tottering up the steps toward the London Eye,
mouth slightly open, arms spread,

as if to express some wordless feeling
caught in the walls of his throat.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Despite jaggedness,
blackberry brambles
have an elegance

to their bowed
curves; leaping
explosions of soft lines,

morsels draped
in ragged leaves, guarded
by rows of thorns.

I whisper this
into the helix
of your ear, stranger,

after finding
that we both enjoy
picking thorns from our selves,

placing them
on the windowsill
until the morning,

and waking
at the sound
of a sliding lock, or

muttered curses–
rummaging for an aspirin,
the car keys.

But this morning,
I am cooking eggs,
brewing coffee, and you

are still asleep,
your thorns lined safely
along the windowsill,

your hair splayed
across the pillow,
an explosion.

The Sea With Teeth

From upside-down,
head sinking into the sand,
the sails on the sea
look like teeth, icicles,
ivory stalactites
between which seagulls
fly, stopping occasionally
to dangle like bats
from the sails.


I did not regard you as old,
nor elderly, as you softly forgot
the names of your children.

Memory's sharp edges dulled against
the press of years in your skull, moments jostling
for clarity, your eyes clouding over from time

to time.

Before forgetting, I have no offer
but one memory in the press of years
I am gathering; standing at the sink,

there is a speck between your teeth
when you smile, your eyes looking
like the round pit of an avocado trapped

in the drain after dinner, dishwater and debris
clouding the sheen of organic promise
with a wash of tarnished silver linings.

In these moments, when you look through us,
I am sure there are times that you are revisiting.
I am sure there are fossils beneath your skin.