Aeschylus, mourning his brother

Brother, are we known yet by our scars? or by the small voices we have raised to hearten others to taste these small morsel’d words? yes, we have been forged by the same gods who choose us, and now we are purged of our tender meekness, we are surely due our conceits leading so purelyContinue reading “Aeschylus, mourning his brother”

The birds

I did not think I would reach the age where a decent 12-year-old single malt would be considered a regrettable choice. I thought by now I would be reading Chaucer, maybe listening to an opera or two. My second ex-wife says Pucccini is good, though he’s no Frankie Sinatra. Now I stand before this mess, examining theContinue reading “The birds”

Fifty-four years following an unfinished burial

I. The pigweed is choking out the old summer garden,  and these morning glories have finally figured out  the shortest distance between the dirt  and the kitchen floorboards.    The family pictures, all gone  except for this one of Henry leaning against  Mister Sam’s blue Chevrolet Coupe.  You can see cousin Laurel’s shadow falling acrossContinue reading “Fifty-four years following an unfinished burial”

Unintentional harm

There was a bruise on her thigh the size of my eager young thumb, the shape and color of a cat’s serving of Neapolitan ice cream. It was not my intention to cause her such a harm, but it was the mark of my drowning eagerness for her, a thoughtless expression of my wretched rawness.Continue reading “Unintentional harm”

Soft brick window wells

do they still hold sleepovers behind the textile plant, on those burned-out chesterfields and the la-z-boys with the brown foam spilling out of the arms, and do the bricks still smell like homemade Portuguese wine and wet takeout cartons are the psalms still written on the plywood windows, random angry verbs and treatises on VietnameseContinue reading “Soft brick window wells”


these there are the scars she said a fleshybrown hook on her belly a rage of adjectives against her skin by hand under shirt under skirt look here where the skin broke at the damages she tolerates for not knowing his rages against the surface part of her, the retractable blade went here, look, touchContinue reading “damages”

The state of the body

He looked so hollow in his little box, surrounded by God and all the unlit penny candles. The living lines of his face were erased. I could see the gray in his hair, a fine drift of curls I had not noticed before. His untamed eyebrows were freshly barbered, his flamboyant complexion struck butter-dull. ThisContinue reading “The state of the body”

The one before last

Your hands are still old frayed cloth, hardly ever warm, unadorned by rings or polish, but scratched up from your cat Saint-Mary whom nobody likes, but you’re too attached to the rough animals that hurt you. I ignore her when I visit you, but still insist on serving the tea. You say, sit down andContinue reading “The one before last”

1967 lawn chair

My living thoughts of you still follow me through the bramble of crumpled bits of paper where all the words I write to explain you to me falter in mid-stroke. I cannot breathe in the dust of yesterday, where you still live, where I still pay rent. There is a mean toll for crossing thatContinue reading “1967 lawn chair”

A place for departing saints

I watched the widowed mother pause on the steps of Matilde of the Sacred Heart, a sight in black and white posed in a black polyester dress, maneuvering cautiously down cracked white concrete, and I studied her   studying my children across the street in the catholic park, riding their bicycles and hiding behind summerContinue reading “A place for departing saints”