Snippets 391-394

From April 2022.

391.
It always seems like nothing
it’s only A harmless little habit
of course it would seem like nothing
What are you afraid of?

392.
the lemons and oranges
dangled from a tree
frayed and despised

393.
there is safe here
blotched and blackened
But safe

394.
Welcome to Fourteen years ago
Look at the shopping bag
are you sure it was just that one time

Tanka 298, 300

298.
It’s the shock of it
that numbs the demons. You seek
the streets you know best
the mapless underworld where –
how odd – now you feel at home
4/29/22

300.
The skinny girl laughs
Embarrasses me all right
I tell you I tried
I tell you I did my best
The skinny girl laughs again
5/12/22

Vain Attempt

From the book Repairs, published in 2017.

Vain Attempt

Too-fine dark hair twisted up
in an undersized tight knot
on top of her head
revealing a hairline
zig-zagging around her head.
The parts fit together
but not very well.
I need roses
she says
nodding her off-balance head for emphasis
her eyes dark and small in her pale face.
I need roses.

4/7/17

Tanka 293, 296, 297

293.
my fake persona
your small awkward compliments
sincere and well-meant
how I found myself ashamed
for the first time in my life
4/1/22

296.
a twitching eyelid
in your choice of five tempos –
the neurosurgeon
offers his treatment options
recommending the polka.
4/14/22

297.
Nice floral print sheets.
Shrinkage controlled. Mercerized.
Wrinkle resistant.
Every little bit helps when
you’re sick in bed with the flu.
4/14/22

Constrain

From the book Repairs, published in 2017.

Constrain

Let’s begin. Good morning
Good night. Breakfast is on the table.
Finish your dinner.
We’re on a tight schedule. Tiptoe out of the house.
Bad day for both of us.
I try to accommodate your routines
I told you the truth. My own face frowning
hundreds of years from now
I’m not giving up hope of an afterlife.
Putting a few more things away
climbing a few more rungs. It’s complicated.

4/7/17

Tanka 289, 290, 291

289.
Strands of spaghetti.
A pot of water rolls and boils.
Sleet taps the window.
Steam freezes on the glass.
I scratch patterns in the ice.
2/10/22

290.
an oyster a pearl
a pirouette in delight
a demure necklace
a stylish afternoon tea
who remembers the oyster?
2/18/22

291.
Your knees in soapsuds
pressed against the green tile floor
your hands red and chilled
the brush catches on a crack.
You yank. The tile lifts. Oh shit.
2/18/22

Snippets 441-445

From June 2022.

441.
this particular evening
the room in moonlight
the air close and pale

442.
It was cold
suddenly I was feeling
caught inside a dull secret
things that happened a long time ago

443.
think of
the invisible eyes who’d look at you
unperturbed and decisive
on a road at night

444.
there were limits to suspicion
I stepped high up into darkness
which of these signs was the one?

Shadorma 263, Tanka 250

From the book Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.

Shadorma 263

Leaves fell. Scrub
died back. Now I see
dark bare trees
how they do
raise their shapely arms how they
do finger the sky

12/16/19

From the book Writing Notebook 2021, published in 2022.

Tanka 250
a nuanced tirade
wearing a blue velvet dress.
its nap stands on end
her hands smooth it. Springing back
she hardly stops to draw breath
1/17/21