A Priori

A Priori

How do I know
what I know?
The sharp angles
of this simple cottage
perfected 
in every board sawn,
shingle split
and beam hewn
into place
goes together
placed, splined,
slid together,
bound more
by intuition
than knowing.

Chores

The day sometimes slip away from me,
a huge pine half-bucked in the backyard,
the kids old tree fort cut into slabs,
a ton of coal waiting to be moved
in a train of buckets
to the bin.

Sipping cold water on the back deck,
sharpening the dulled teeth
of a worn chainsaw,

I hear Emma rustling for soccer cleats
and singing some country song,
probably hoping I will remember
that her part of the day
is also mine…

The Tide

The Tide

They are building a world
and the plastic is fading:
Margaret and Eddie’s
buckets are split,
pouring out the warm Atlantic
as they race
along the tidal flat,
filling pools connected
by frantically dug canals.

Tommy squats naked
and screams in guttural joy
at the solitary horseshoe crab
donated by a stranger
with a large belly
and a huge smile.

Charlie thrashes through the shallows
chasing crabs
and impossible minnows.

Emma is happy
to let only the wind
fill her net.

Pipo steps warily
and warns us sternly
in his broken English
to anticipate the massive toad
lurking in the undertow.

Kaleigh stands far away
toes lapped
by the edge of gravity.

She is almost a teenager.
I see her
framed in a setting sun,
stretching out her arms,
holding back
the inevitable tide.

Eighteen Years

Eighteen Years

At midnight I hear the cuckoo clock chiming
from it’s perch in a cluttered kitchen
locked in cadence with the tower bell
gonging this old mill town at midnight
to a deeper sleep,

like a call to prayer
reminding me that this new day,
starting in the dark of a hallowed night,
is more than just an ordinary day:

blessed by memories
stirring in palpable realness—
your soft breathing beside me
mixing with crickets and peepers

calling out into the darkness,
searching for a dream
fit to be called a true marriage—

our gift constantly opening,
revealing a mystery and a majesty
larger than the box itself—

stunning in the simplicity
of renewed, remembered,
and resplendent love.

Evolution

Evolution

The coyotes and fisher cats
seem intent on striking
some new deal
with each other
to toy with our fears
in this gentleman’s wilderness—

patches of dense woods
dotted with overgrown fields,
riven and intersected
by highways, powerlines
and quiet, suburban
neighborhoods.

Last night it was the coyotes
who edged closer
chattering and howling
in the scrub brush
below the power line

reminding me
in staccato yelps
of the precariousness
of evolution.

The Mystery Within

The Mystery Within

EJ wanted a banana tree for Christmas
so that early morning
brought a plastic bag,
a few meager roots
and no directions.

I bought some potting soil
and a square cedar box
EJ placed deliberately
by a westward window.

He gently splayed the roots,
pressed the soil,
and smiled and shrugged
with his calm and gentle
equanimity.

For years now
the tree has lived and died
in a cycle of births
and deaths
on meager rays
of a distant sun,
cups of water,
leftover Gatorade, cold tea
and the remaining milk
from bowls of Fruit Loops.

New England is not kind
or welcoming to anything
not from here, practicing
a stoic and mystic
indifference to all of us
transplanted bodisattva’s

who somehow persist
in spite of everything
and our tender shoots
harden into a pithy bark
and we manage to survive
on the mystery within.

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