Atop the hill
the trees are filigree
against the fading light.
The tents are fireflies
twinkling as night
reclaims the earth.
I am caught up
in the chill
watching my breath
kiss the stars.
First Appeared in Blueline, Vol. 22, 2001. Reprinted in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2005
There was a time not all that long ago,
he reminds me, when the event of an eclipse
was a certain sign the world was ending.
Prayers were offered in profusion, and
the event proceeded and passed, so faith
in prayer was restored, if not in astronomy.
Today eclipses are viewed as just other
celestial events, like meteor showers
and solar flares, something to see,
something to experience, but always
with the knowledge that tomorrow
will always be right around the corner.
But the eclipse of our freedoms
is something we have never seen,
and many now believe the world
is ending, but we should, he says,
realize that like the slow passage
of the earth across the face of the moon,
we will emerge into the light again
in due time, our prayers having been answered.
It was lying there,
on the ground, waiting to be noticed,
unsure of why everyone walked by,
some glancing, most lost in thought.
It hadn’t been there long, but
certainly long enough to be seen,
of that it was certain, yet
there it lay staring crimson
at the sun overhead, and even
the one passing cloud
seemed to ignore it
as it meandered by.
It wanted to shout out,
to demand attention, but
it knew that wouldn’t change anything.
And so it lay there, waiting,
frustrated, until a sudden breeze
lifted it up and a small child
shouted to his mother, “Mommy,
look at the pretty red leaf.”
She left this evening,
slid away silently
her goodbyes long ago said.
She was a feather
carried on a gentle breeze,
refusing to land,
until at last
the earth reached up
and reclaimed her,
and she settled gently,
her voyage over, our memories
of her smile, her nod,
her knowing winks,
now fixed for eternity.
The sooty snow
blankets the fields
a still ocean
off the precipice
of the horizon.
of ash tinged cotton
hug the earth
under which all life
from the ghosts
To the wanderer
which the cave mouth
which the cave?
The old, weathered maple
leans into the sun, its trunk
stroking the cobbled cottage
which sits against the foothill.
The square window peers out
over a wildflower garden
as the roof’s peakline
into old age.
Walking around it I see
the back roof has collapsed
the back wall ever threatening
to return to the earth
of its mountain home.
For on this day there is no peace,
for on this day some are laid to rest,
for on this day others shed endless tears,
for on this day many are wringing hands,
for on this day many offer hollow words,
for on this day they know they should act
for on this day they know they will not,
for on this day we think about tomorrow,
for on this day we think of those without tomorrows,
for on this day the sun did rise,
for on this day the earth did rotate,
for on this day God was elsewhere,
for on this day we were all too human.
In memory of the lives lost and changed forever at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.