ON THIS DAY

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.

IN LOVING MEMORY (17 this time)

Just what will the puppet king say
or will he simply run and hide
as we are left to mourn and pray

Seventeen more are dead today,
we know better than to abide
just what will the puppet king say

more hollow words, for which they pay
“only more guns can stem the tide.”
As we are left to mourn and pray

children ask why there is a day
on which so many good friends died,
just what will the puppet king say,

what false compassion he’ll display.
As broken parents stand graveside,
as we are left to mourn and pray

we know the king dare not betray
those who bought him. We can’t decide
just what will the puppet king say
as we are left to mourn and pray.

 


Out of cycle, but coping takes many forms.

THE SPACE BETWEEN

 

The space between
want and need
is at once a vast gulf
and the width of the hair,
much the same as that
separating luck and greed.
It is only in the eyes mind
that the gap is insurmountable
and we give up hope
that those who live
in the land of wants
will ever look across
the border of tears
and truly see those
who are doomed
to toil endlessly
in the land of need.

MOURNING ASCENDANT

When they lowered my grandmother’s casket
into the sodden earth, there wasn’t
a dry eye or shoulder, or leg around.
Sophie would have gotten a good laugh,
her children always too busy for a visit
getting soaked to the skin,
in a cold, windy downpour, all but me,
the one she chose to conduct the service,
the funeral director standing behind me
with the oversize umbrella, ensuring
the words of prayer, of departure,
were dry enough to read, washed
only by my tears, held back, unholdable,
the clunk of the first shovel of dirt
on the simple pine box still echoing today.

FOR THIS MOMENT

The sea is calm today
not the petulant child
thrashing at the harbor
leaving her stone tears
in the sands.
Perhaps it is the sun
stroking her dappled skin
or perhaps she is merely listening
to the whispers of clouds
sliding off into the horizon.
We don’t question the sea,
that is for Jonahs, and God
had trouble enough
with the original.
Even the angry sea
has something to say,
and some kings
are deaf to whispers.
Sitting on the beach
listening for the waves
that barely lap the sands
I know that this day
the sea will keep her secrets.

BAREFOOT

He says his favorite clouds
all wear size seven shoes.
He knows she believes
she once saw a paisley rainbow
and will never forget it.
She wears size seven shoes
and her tears can be torrential,
yet they can still nurture
the first flowers of spring.
He imagines her a butterfly
sitting on the back of his hand,
gossamer wings poised
at the thin edge of stillness.
He will not tell her this, afraid
she would think him a fool
or worse, flit wings and fly
in search of a rainbow,
just not a paisley one.
They both know that one
hides always within the clouds
that halo the mountain
whose streams feed her tears.
Those are the clouds
he knows, that always, always
run barefoot across the sky.