Poetry Season

There are poems hiding
in the mountains of the soul.
I glimpse pieces of them
furtively, as if I’m speeding by
through a forest of trees.
I’m often too focused on my destination
to make out their finer features,
jotting down snippets and impressions
before moving on,
but I’d like to stop and pull out a sketchbook,
and set up a camera
or trap
and capture an entire poem at once.
I’m tempted to turn on my hazards,
and pull off onto the shoulder,
but it’s hard to go poem-hunting
with passers by constantly
going out of their way to ask you about it.
They see you staring intently at nothing
and loudly ask if you’re alright.
They startle it,
and if you can’t hush them,
the poem bounds away before
you’ve even snapped a blurry picture of it.
You’re better off on the scenic byways,
crawling over dirt roads,
or ditching the roads all together
to meander the overgrown paths of life,
stopping to listen as poems crash
and tumble through the underbrush,
anticipating where they’ll feed out or bed down,
hoping to spot one from a distance
to be weighed, considered,
stalked up on with bare feet, quietly
until you can breathe it in,
until you can almost reach out and touch it
before it disappears.

On Bringing My Daughter to College

This part of my life has always been separate.
Everyday I leave our house behind;
I drive these roads
and walk these paths
alone,
and my two worlds
have never intersected.
Until today.

My time on campus 
has always been about learning
and living dreams,
so it’s funny that it took you 
coming to school with me to teach me
how much of my dreams are already here
in you.

Moon Fixer

She saw the sun bow out behind
the golden curtain of the sky,
then pushed the fluffy clouds away,
laughing as they tickled her face.
She hung the stars up in the night,
flung all about and one at a time
in a messy, graceful kind of play,
until she beheld the moon, broken back
like the leftovers of some monstrous snack.
And how she did it I may never know,
but I know she fixed it, for she told me so
in the morning after she awoke.
  

Nature

The boys found a field mouse family’s
burrow beneath one of their tents.
The mother ran under a bush to watch
as the scouts inspected the shallow trench.
In the earth she’d made a careful nest,
laid with cotton fluff and fine, dry grass
for the naked body of a birth-blind pup,
which chirped as it searched for her in the dirt.
I covered the place with a piece of bark,
and whispered to boys to step away and watch
the mother come back from where she’d fled.
They crushed her pup with a rock instead.

Writing Jock

I was going to try to get a little work 
out today. I did a few warm ups,
stretched myself over a couple topics,
and bounced a few ideas off the walls,
but it just wasn’t coming naturally, and 
I didn’t want to pull anything.

5 Two-Sentence Horror Stories

  1. The night after the accident I thought I heard the squeaking of wheels and faint laughter in the unfinished basement. In the morning I found his twisted tricycle in the middle of the floor with little bloody hand prints on the handlebars.
  2. One day I found that something had gotten into the cereal in my pantry, so I set out a mouse trap for it. I had to move after I found the naked, miniature body of human being crushed in the trap. 
  3. Before she got sick, my daughter loved riding our willow tree in rainstorms. Sometimes on stormy nights I still see her shining eyes and long, wet hair swaying in the upper branches between flashes of lightning.
  4. The boy cast his line into pond and reeled quickly, like his dad had showed him before he disappeared. The line caught on something and wouldn’t budge—until the boy pulled with all his might, and out of the water flopped his father’s severed head, hooked right through the lip. 
  5. They told me a woman had been trapped and burned to death in the house, but that didn’t bother me too much. Until a particularly hot summer night when I watched in horror as paint was violently scraped from the walls by frantic, invisible fingernails.