The last of the bread

The sun rises in its typical place,
with its usual shape,
brown like an egg, its runny yoke
drips all over us.

We eat the flesh of wild game,
cold on tin plates,
and wipe the grease
with the last of the bread I baked
before the days turned hot.

Under a sagging canopy of brown leaves,
and with soft marrow smeared on our faces,
we smile like strangers,
too frequently alone.

You measure
your words by the inch,
and I by the ounce,
and we fold our hands to the coming day.

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The heart is

Have we yet reached that place
where we can say we have seen
inside the chambers of
each other’s heart?

Can we say we have spoken
to each one of our beasts
we claim
as pets
as ghosts
as gods?

Who would love us then
when
we recite our lives
to each other
without a paused breath

who is left
to listen

or are we equally complicit
on
bloodied knees, unbalanced in prayer,
our fingers broken and
reaching for
and denying all
of whatever makes us divine
whatever makes us lie
and lie
and lie.

and so
the liquor store wine
is the cheapest blood
that can save us.

No. You stay
Let’s just leave
the bereavement to others
who know how to perform it
or cut it into manageable pieces
or adorn it with
whatever decomposing light
is left.

We have seen into each other’s hearts
and we are
remorseless.

Who would want us now
that are hearts are cut open?

Communiqué

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We come from solid work stock, you and I,

and we walk these final miles with tired backs,

towards a paper-plated Friday night.

You search your purse for your keys while I

watch a slim parchment of moon

dissolve across the snow.

There are clues here, I think, to everything.

The accumulation of our wet breaths etches

a communiqué across the front door window,

but you erase it

with the heel of your glove before

it can be jotted down on one of our sagging calendars.

We wear the same boots we wore six years ago,

the same scarves,

through the same tired hallway,

you first,

and I close the door behind us and

the snow melt is already turning brown.

You glance

at the litter of words I scribbled this morning

on the old motel stationery beside the phone.

I forgot what I wrote,

maybe a dentist appointment, maybe a confession,

maybe a dream I wanted to tell you about

before I forgot.

Here in the darkness, we compare our days

with clumsy smiles and cold hands.

We come from solid work stock, you and I,

and the miles have fallen behind us.

Thank you

 

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To all who follow this blog, a sincere and humble thank you. May this be a time of blessings and joy, now and into the new year.

I recently suffered a heart attack, but now I’m home, resting with my wife Angela.

Thank you again for all your concerns and well wishes, they are very much appreciated. — Steve

The yellow-leafed tree

The veil between dreams

My eyes abide the blighted light
of the yellow-leafed tree.
Please set my stone here
and let us both rest.
But please stop and listen —
I know you can hear it,
the grief in my spirit,

and you see the fraying of my days,
my finite breaths
fading away.

I still lean into old memories,
away from you,
away from who
I wanted to be.

I did not expect to be loved so well.

The storm

We sit cross-legged on the scatter rug and listen to the rain peck at the windows. The water fractures itself against the screen and it draws patterns I want to trace with my fingers. We have a box of candles on the kitchen table, for when the dark comes back inside. She leans into me whenever the rain turns loud, and her face is solemn and so still. Outside, the wind carves itself into the hickory trees. She can’t hear me offer up comfort, so I lean back into her. We listen. We wait.