For Whom Everything Is In Question [poetry]

Rain bundled like hay,
hit like bricks that obliterated homes to sea;
now she lives home-wrecked with her bony children
and colorless neighbors on a tropical dune
where they search for old haunts
in sand,
on waves
and in the sky.

I tell you this in memory of dancing bears
and the drunk in the furnace—
they who look for the old
always find the past,
but when they look for the new,
whatever they do has just begun.

Tales and Secrets [poetry]

The old woman hovers near the woodstove
and drags a calloused hand across her crinkled forehead
as if wiping away smoke and sweat.
She pauses, looking;
her eyes flash between her fingers
and strike my soul.

I feel her in my mind,
looking,
searching,
all the while reading the history there.

Where have I gone,
if anywhere,
on the avenues in my life?

Her hand falls from her face;
her gaze floats above the stove
and absorbs the glow of coals inside
before it reaches through the door.
Her fingers curl and seize an ember
like a vise to etch a jagged pattern in the air.
Her fingers part and the small red star falls to the black oak table
and knocks a fear in the depths of my stomach.

I wander through the city streets of my past,
lost,
smelling smoky incense that once meant something:
a sweet perfume that led me to intelligent light
that flung away my darkness
and sparked new life inside my soul.

A violent motion—
her fingers stab the black oak floor,
then snatch a pile of bones lying white:
old knuckles, toes and vertebrae—
some with fur and flesh intact.

She holds the bones in her palm;
they float before her eyes that sparkle
the way the night stars flare
on cloudless nights.

I float above the wires of my nerves
trembling like a lake spilling over.

“Suojata,” she barks;
a wave of gnarled arm
and the bones fly like shooting daggers to my heart.
I clutch my breast
while her cavernous mouth cracks a laugh before the tales begin.

Remembering [poetry]

Do you remember how we crept along fences young together
stumbling through to the other side of eternity
never thinking we would ever become middle-aged

Do you recall homesick high-school weeks making us feel gentle
like days of a last breathless uncertain chord played—
a warm rich memory from an old woman’s concert piano

Do you remember solos
Where did they go

Too much, too many are stored within the unraveling fabric of a vanishing time

Solid silver lively youths are gone to now grace hopefully this little time for writing verse

Neither of us will ever be really old
or wholly separated as we move into our later years
clutching at our memories
unless we do forget