Evening Hymn (1/5)

“The only time drinking is acceptable is during the Eucharist.”

But the wine stains me like blood.

I haven’t written in a few days,

But writing is my salvation.

I am drunk with language;

Intoxicated by meaning

Until my head aches with reality in the morning.


The I-See-You (2/5)

 They say a man can live to be 100 with your heart condition.

They say a man can live to be 100 with stage 4 kidney failure.

They say a man can live to be 100 with remnants of pneumonia,


But not with mantle cell leukemia.

And not with a stroke.

And not with all of these things at once.


I was convinced that there was magic in your house—

A secret corridor!

This corridor is not secret. It has big black letters that read:

Intensive               Care             Unit.


In it, I see you sleeping.

But I also see you sorting mail

And picking up dust bunnies.


I see you watching football,

I see you at my ballet recitals,

I see you at church, and I see you at city hall.


I see many different yous—all anywhere but here

Because I’m not ready to look at the new you yet.

One day I will have to.


When I go home,

I will see all the yous I’ve ever seen before.

And the new you will join them (hopefully not very often).

And I will wait until I get to see you again.


Quicksand (3/5)

I am caught up in a morass of quicksand–

The real kind that takes you slowly.

You think you can just step out,

But it becomes hard and traps you in.


The sand is possessive. If you can escape, it’ll take your shoe

And you’ll lag behind everyone else

And your socks will be dirty

And you’ll walk home ashamed.


Maybe it’s worse to lose your shoe;

A part of a whole set will always be missing

And both shoes will be useless.


I would rather be sucked in to the pit.


Soft Hands (4/5)

Yours is my favorite hand to hold.

A squeeze for good grades,

A caress for coming back,

A shake for “I love you.”


Your hands are so soft.

When I was little, you told me I would need soft hands

To catch a ball and tie a knot and write in cursive.


I asked Fra Angelico’s angel to look after you.


(The painter was a monk, you know. That must count for something.

He will surely talk to God for us and ask Him to take care of you.)


His hands are soft—painted so smoothly.

He is puro and devoto.

His hands will bless you.


Now I am aware of my tense hands

When I write a poem and dry my eyes and wave goodbye.

I will smile and try to be softer for you.

I will hold your hand until the angel comes to bring you home.


The Stained Glass’s Grievance (The Jewel Stair’s Grievance – Ezra Pound) (5/5)

The stained glass windows are already quite dusty from years of neglect

It is so late that the moon barely illuminates the figures’ story

And I turn back with their eyes watching me

And read the same scripture on the eagle’s wings



We went to the lake today after school.

The stones were warm from the soaked-up sun

And they left pretty imprints on my hands.


The water was so icy cold that it froze our toes.

We laughed and watched the minnows dart around.

We listened to the water lap against the concrete and the cars drive by.


Today I am listening to your favorite song

Because there are no lakes around here

And it’s the sound closest to that day after school.


From “Moanin’”

Cross the street

Go back home and change your shoes!

You won’t need those anymore.

Take a walk around the back way,

And don’t you dare stop for anything

Until you find something new.


Oh, you found something?

Took you long enough.

There is newness everywhere;

You just have to know where to look.


From “Gabriel’s Oboe”

Soaring with heavy wings and a heavy heart

Then diving into the depths below

Away from the harmful world above,

And into a deep sleep.

Held in place by the healing waters.

Endless darkness.

Endless peace.

Even when the waves tear through the air,

And the wind rips over the surface of the sea,

The sand gleams

And the seaweed flows gently

The sparkling light of the sun can only be seen

From below the surface.


Flawless (for Sage)

Named for a bait and tackle company

You are able to reel the truth out of me.

Just as sage can cleanse a household,

So you cleanse my heart

You are my nebulizer

And I your emergency inhaler

We breathe life into each other.

You know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

You know that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

I know that the same goes for your thoughts.

The dust in the West hangs in the air

But your mask guards your lungs

Just as it guards your broken heart

And my mask guards my own, but not from you,

The only one who knows my secrets.

At night I drive and think of you

A truck hurtles past me

But your love is as strong as a sheet of metal

Your mind as swift as the west wind

There are silver threads that follow you wherever you go

Tying us together

Mine is covered in blue and white beads that you designed for me

Your own is pink and purple

To make you happy and to remind you:

It’s okay to be a child



You are the constant in a world that only changes

Like a rock among sandcastles on the beach,

Which only wash away

You are permanently by my side

I have only ever been alone for one minute of my life

The minute before you came

I am afraid to leave you and be alone again

We might be separated by thousands of miles

We might only see each other a few times a year

But you will always be with me

And I will always be with you