Monday, May 25, 2015


Leave these
newborn graves
unbaptized with
fresh blood

and plan no
new battlefields
on the still-unsettled
dust of the old,

and have these parades
file silently by,
and finish
with "Taps"at twilight;

for we have
hallowed-up the dead
to deny to ourselves
that war is hell,

we have justified
our foibles on
their deaths' sake
and romanced

the gun that cuts
down lives
over their dead bodies.
Right or wrong--

their service was paid,
in the fullest measure
and should be played
for no dram more--

we honor them best
without glorifying war.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The sky was white
and gray and stayed that way,
with dark leaves
of damp trees above
and the sound of one bird
chirping from
the feeder--
sounding like a recitation
of a to-do list.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Her Body: Brutal

She came home brutalized.
Her eyes were like dusty hollows
where pupils flitted like ghosts,
and her voice was a whisper, and she was ours,
even though her skin
was raised and angry
like she had slept with fleas
and her lank hair
begged for a wash.
And all we asked was that she kick--
not the rehab this time,
but we would watch her, and this time it would stick.

And that was the first month,
and we knew she was sick.
Doing it cold was like rebirthing daily;
I shuddered at her, and poured
the cough syrup down the drain, and
pitched the alcohol from
the medicine chest.
A toddler again, she wasn't trusted
with any poison under the sink,
but food she threw up like
a champ, and hygiene was like ambition,
and the second month she was talking
And I realized what she never asked for.
So I had to ask her when.

At 95 lbs if that why should she?
And when she was that far gone,
how could she?
And she didn't really know when she stopped.
Only it was a relief,
because it was another fucking thing
to cramp about. And then we got her tested.
(And for AIDS, and for Hep C.)

And blessedly it was only the best
and worst of the three
I thought about. Probably
first trimester, then,
although I couldn't imagine how this came about
except I could,
and how, and when,
and that she spent it on a fix,
and probably
wouldn't have thought of it again.

And it was it seemed suddenly
too likely, given all the math,
21 weeks or so when it happened.
Or had to have.
And what would we even call it?
Rape? How could that be proved?
And I would not have dared to ask her
and she lived under my roof.

And she didn't want it.
She wanted to kick.
And she didn't want it.
She wanted to go back to school.
And she didn't want it.
Because it couldn't work in her too-sick
too-small body, how frail,
and could not fit into her too-new
reborn life.

But none of that mattered.
Her body, like a wrapping
for an unwanted gift,
shredded so that she
could see the
generation she
left to be raised by me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Her Body: Graveyard

The first time at twenty-five
I felt the child inside me alive
until the cramp and blood--
the violent ending,
of my unsung son.

And the second time,
she barely registered--
a missed period, a test,
and I guessed,
maybe yes--this time
I'd fight my biology.
But I fought nausea
and in tears knew
how quickly
ceased to be.

My hard-fought fertility
has taken me from
the bed to the ER
to doctors and the spare
couch where I have sat,
paging through unaffordable options,
to have
just one, adorable child.

So tell me,
when this one dies,
if it dies, under my heart,
when do I start to heal--

with a surgical finish
and a promise that we will meet again?
Or will some
jumped up motherfucker
make me leave his little
joined in me until the
rush of
thankless labor
some days off
let me unburden the ghost
of another child I did not have?

Make my heart a
and inscribe there
their names unwritten
for what your laws will make
of my potters' womb.

A monument to death in me.
My life a tomb
for your

After this.