Mantra

I will be; and like a red dwarf,
shall burn slow and true. It’s not
my will to burn as giants burn,
their plasma shining across the cosmos
for all to know; my friends alone
will see my full inward extent,
the rest will only feel
my gravity,
outlasting all
else.


The Cricket

You cannot dream; and so,
out of dreamless sleep you wake
to find the darkness full
of thoughts, politics, and words
that you will never say,
for who would hear? It’s then
you hear a cricket chirp,
unbearably loud, from within
your room. You rise, flip the light on,
and spot it by your books,
the black shape too easily seen.

A cup and book are enough to trap
the errant bug, and out the door it goes.
But the song is not so easily dismissed;
you will be changed, it seems to say.
The dreams will come, and there
is nothing you can do about it.


Love

The moment you stumbled
down the hill, six years old
and late to school, She was born.

And when, one night, you took that girl
outside the dance to kiss her, She
was several states away, jumping rope
with friends in the fading twilight,
waiting for her parents to call out to her.

While you went off to college,
She roamed the woods behind her house.
And as you arrived at work, clocked in,
She carried her books to class once more,
amid the crowds of hurried students.

Eventually, you returned to school
as well, and as you left your class
one day, vaguely dissatisfied despite
the bright September sun, She passed
you by, smiling. Perhaps your eyes
met, briefly. Perhaps there was a nod.
The first kiss was months away,
and so much more was further off.
Nothing was final, then. Nor is it ever.


The Runaway

The roads that punctuated her life
had long since come together. For her,
there was but one road, the sum
of all her travels from that moment
she sat at her computer, writing,
and looked down to see a cricket
perched upon her knee. Where
did it come from, and how had it climbed
her sweatpants without her notice?
But when she stood, and the cricket
fell to the floor, she couldn’t find it
again, amid the mess of college papers,
books, cereal boxes, and empty cans.
That moment, she knew she couldn’t continue.
Her current existence was over – she
would have to climb her own mountains,
and fall into her future not as a creek,
but a cataract. And the ocean was always
just ten more steps ahead. Even now,
after eighteen years flowing from town to town,
job to job, campground to campground,
from every beginning of a life to the beginning
of another, the coast was always just a few
more steps away. But when she finally
arrived, she would leap in, merging with
the water, one drop among many – a home
for everyone but herself. That was her hope.


Why Dinosaurs Didnt Sing

When Cain was finished
having human sons,
he fathered the dinosaurs,
a proud and noble lineage
full of power, and pleasure
for their patriarch. He saw
the Tyrannosaur, its teeth
bright with reflected sunlight
after being washed in the blood
of its kill; the Compsognathus,
with its short, nimble legs
to chase after prey and women;
the Deinonychus, with its powerful
claws and colorful feathers to enwrap
both its lunch and its lovers;
and last, the Troodon, whose intelligence
and diversity of diet provoked fascination;
with these sons was Cain well pleased.

But God looked down at these offerings:
power he had already, and reach enough
to penetrate all that lived in Cain’s
expanding world. Instead, from the least
of Cain’s creations, from the last and shortest
paragraph of his dinosaur book of life,
did God enlarge the birds, and give them
a beauty Cain could not conceive: songs,
loving and vulnerable, sad and thoughtful,
and full of joy beyond the animal pleasure
of watching others fall, fail, or capitulate.
From this Jubal’s lineage springing,
the meek inherited Cain’s earth
in a flood of powerful, celestial melody.