THE QUESTION

Even long after he had left
his childhood behind, or such
of it as he had actually had,
he could still stare up into
the night sky, at ceiling of stars
with more than a little awe.

And even though he had left
childhood behind, no one
had yet answered the one
question his parents ducked
time and time again, one
so simple a child knew
its answer, but asked anyway,
for validation or irritation.

If God created the heavens
why did He or She arrange
the stars so that people
could see in their order
other people, lesser gods
and all manner of animals?

ADMISSION

We do not like to admit
that nature laughs at us
as we pretend to bend her
to our will and desires.

We dam and reroute rivers,
but the river knows well
that it will return, flow
where it wishes, for it
will be here long after
we have returned to the soil.

Still, now and again nature
grows weary with our meddling
and unleashes her fury
in ways we are incapable
of stopping, and laughs
when we seek divine
intervention from the utter
depths of our powerlessness.

EFFECT

The morning was indistinguishable from so many others. Lorenz was taking his morning walk around the pond or lake, it was of that intermediate size that could be either or neither, when in a break with his habit, he sat down on one of the four benches, and stared out over the water. He hadn’t seen the usual egrets or herons or ibis, which did strike him as a bit odd since they were as regular in attendance as he was. As he pondered their absence he was startled by what felt like a tickling on his arm. He looked down to find a Painted Lady butterfly perched on his forearm sitting placidly. He stared at what seemed to be the eyes on its wing staring at him. Neither moved, he for fear of dislodging his visitor, the butterfly for its own, undisclosed, unfathomable reasons. This mutual staring continued until time lost its shape, its defintion, and puddled at his feet, no longer mattering at all. But evenutally a breeze came up and it lifted from his arm, flitted about as if in some farewell and was off. He had no idea that moments later the tsunami warning sirens began up and down Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.

AFTERLIFE

In the farthest reaches
of the afterlife, the old men
gather each day, although
day and night are meaningless
to them, just assigned
for purposes of the writer.

The Buddha recites sutras
hoping the others will
be in the moment with him,
while Hillel smiles, stands
on one foot and dreams
of a lean pastrami on rye
with a slice of half sour.

Christ muses on when
mankind might be ready
for his return visit,
and Hillel says “good luck
with that, it’s been downhill
with them for two millenia.

Shroedinger sits off
to the side staring intently
at the box, wondering
if there is a cat inside.

NAMELESS ONE

It is truly unfair, sucks really,
that proximity has cast me
as nameless, yet I am forced
to wear all manner of terms
that fit their mood at any
given moment, and even then
they can’t seem to agree.

You can say it is petty, but I
am jealous of Titan, and hell
even Phobos and Deimos
have proper names, and they
are a misshapen, dim pair.
Maybe I should blame
my companion who rejected
a host of names, wanting
to be called earth, but why
do all the major planets have names
while I am tagged with,
nothing more than moon.

OCULUS

There is little good
you want to say about
Macular Degeneration, less
about geographical atrophy,
nothing it seems you can do
until it crosses that line
and wetness sets in.

But there is one hidden
advantage and that
is the magical power
to make people headless
and cars disappear
on the highway.

All I need do is shut
my left eye and if I am
ten feet or more from you
you will be headless
and as you buzz by me
on the expressway,
closing the left eye
you can disappear forever.

SHOWERS

We sat on our lanai last night
in our twin rockers, the cat
curled close by but carefully
removed from the rockers
and stared into the sky hoping
meteors would grace us
with their fleeting presence.

The moon did appear, shrouded
in thin clouds, spectral ghost
waxing slowly in hiding, but
the stars had fled this night,
fearing the rain that
the cloud mantle promised.

We never did see a meteor
but we know they will return
next year and the cat says
it is hardly worth interrupting
a good nap for a momentary
flash of light, and we just
touched hands and
retreated to bed.

YIN YANG

The real question
in the final analysis
is not whether
New Age musicians
invented acupuncture
and massage although
there is an inextricable
linkage between them.

The real question is
why two healing
Asian modalities
choose that form
of aural torture while
the patient/victim
must lie still and accept
the pain inflicted
as the pleasure
is slowly delivered.

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY

1.

And it
should come as
no great surprise
Isaac Newton said,
“I find I now
prefer to sit beneath
pear trees.”

2.

In his small
Leningrad apartment
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
cursed ,”damn dogs,
you bite me
every time
someone rings
the doorbell.”

3.

Schrodinger shouted
at the PETA protesters
“I’ve told you
again and again
the cat
is also alive,
just don’t look.”

First published in Defenestration, Volumee XVIII, Issue III, December 2021

LUNAR LUNCH

Even as a child I was
reasonably certain that
the moon wasn’t made
of green cheese as some
of my friends said, because
even if it was cheese, I
was sure it would be either
Roquefort or Gorgonzola.

No one had been
to the moon back then,
nothing had marred its surface,
so we took the scientists
on faith that it was
something other than cheese.

Now looking back we
must consider our naivete,
for it was scientists
in the employ of companies
who assured us that
tobacco might actually be
good for us, although we
never saw them smoking
come to think of it now.