Flown Birds

Starlings have a better language;
the toss of a lion’s head
is more understood
than our garbled
gestures in love.
Must we piss it forth
as fine lines
on the snow;
these hours spun
in the uncertainty
of how
to touch one another.

What are words,

but surprised
frozen roses caught
round a face;
flown birds.


Unseasonably February

There were birds this morning,
as though the weakened winter sneezed.
The great dial of clicking days
grows unwieldy.
Trees pimple too soon
for the calendar,
bees rustle
in their waxy hollows.

Waiting for the train,
we wearily shoulder
ill-chosen coats,
are pipe-cleaner figures
with overdressed gestures.

The city slides by,
conjured up
through the late March
trompe l’oeil.

My eyes are full
of tortoise shell,
the pomegranate crowds,
searching every face
for love.

Small Hour

I think about you in the small hour,
you are sprinkled in the pinstriped
electricity of the evening,
thin, wavered by the dark.
Your head is an Iris
blossoming out of a collar,
trembling, uneven:
brick wall graffiti
or poetry in charcoal.

I am diving and flown;
a Kingfisher lost in a wintry park.

The starlight on my cheeks.
is only a galaxy’s past-life
catching my upturned face,
significant, weak;
the fly inside a bottle,
necks of shadow cast
beneath a cedar.

I try to imagine
you looking back at me
under skinny crescents
of stingy moons
and flutter there like cash
from a cloud’s hip pocket.


Topsy Turvy Sonnet

damn the broken speckled eggs of sorrow
lambs and sheep are counted for tomorrow
harm unfolds and every corners’ ornery
trapped in tattered rags of second stories
charmed until the pansies drooped neglected
snapped balloons deflated dreams deflected
skeins of winter sunlight wheezed and squandered
promises that shattered pieced and pondered
trains of thought to marriage quite contrary
Thomases of doubt reactionary
coroners and caskets flying solo
kettle drums that wanted to be oboes
corridors of numbered doors and angles
settled in complacency’s soft strangle


Farewell Huitain

Ginger and cinnamon can scar
the reserved air mercilessly
in empty rooms at half past three.
Perky utensils cramp a jar,
spatulas arranged as they are
needed. Laundered dishcloths still smell
of distant breads, a rump roast’s char.
Her kitchen wouldn’t say farewell.


Stump Me Sijo

Spring blooms: Cutleaf Rootwart, Green Adder’s Mouth, Duck Potato;
stump me. I am lost in protuberance or sashaying creature;
a forest of thought is absent; I will name my own illusions.


Boxed in the Ring Sonnet

The knockout was delivered Christmas day;
a brawl was done that passed just like a dream.
Your final bout had ended up this way:
against the ropes and losing all your steam.
Though facing your opponent toe to toe,
the sucker-punch already had been thrown.
You found yourself down fallen, like the snow;
a ten-count wouldn’t stop or be postponed.
Your gloves came off when fighting this last round.
The winter cancer boxed you in the ring
and grew so fast, despite the frozen ground.
Those pounds you lost left featherweight to swing.
Some boxers are considered tough and brave,
but you swung lionhearted at a grave.