CONTINUO

The dolphin knows
precisely when to feed
when to bless the day
when to swim south
feels the pull of the tides.

Each day at noon
he walks across the factory floor
around lathes,
shavings, and up
the metal staircase
into the small office
its windows overlooking
the shop floor and pushes
the red button
mounted on the wall.
The whistle peals over town
as people glance reflexively
at their watches.
When asked, he says
it is always precisely noon
never sooner, never later
he is certain, for he checks
the clock on the steeple
of the ancient church
set each Friday by the parson
to insure God’s work
is promptly done.

Each day at ten before six
the parson climbs the ancient
wooden steps into the bell tower
and staring at his watch, waits
until the hands align
then leans into the rope
as the bell rings out six times
then he climbs down and walks
across the neatly trimmed lawn
to the small white clapboard
house that sits on the edge
of the cemetery behind the church.
It is precisely six he says
for each day at noon
he sets his watch
to the factory whistle.


First appeared in PKA Advocate, No. 9, December 1996

ANEW

The front of winter
slowly seeps up from the sidewalk
into the street unveiling
the last falling of autumn’s leaves.
A gentle fog rises
shrouding the fact
that winter, or the most of it
lurks just over the distant hills,
which mark the margin
of our vision.
Even the birds sing
in our confusion
they without calendars
not caring this day
is set aside to mark
the birth of a new year
and we, ignoring hours so we
need not admit we sit
in the heart of winter.

FINALLY FALLING

Outside the snow finally falls
and presses
the last fallen
Maple leaves
into the ground
free, for now
from the rake.

Outside the snow finally falls
and for a few hours
November is redeemed
and my shoes
are suddenly inadequate
even on the half
plowed road.

Outside the snow finally falls
and the full moon
accepts it’s obscurity
while the cat
stares longingly
out the window.

FIFTEEN MINUTES IN A LIFE

I walked slowly into
the darkened showroom
of the tattoo parlor, walls
lined with the wares
of the burly, bearded man
dragon rampant on his chest
barely contained by the Harley T-shirt.
Look around, he said, till you see
what you want, I’ll be here.
On one wall all manner of dragons
and other dreamlike beasts,
one of mermaids, nymphs
a corner of cycles, one of butterflies.
What I’d like, I said
is a Campbell’s Soup can
Tomato, preferably, or
Chicken Noodle, on my biceps
close to life sized.
He stared, slack jawed, but
you never really know,
it worked for Andy Warhol.