Three poems for a penny


When the wolf was, was tall

The distance made me shy
the directness of eyes cast down
the gulf between the ceiling
and the ground, the feeling of
what was hidden below
a coal-like substance that would
never burn. What god made
God kept. I learned.


Sunday chef

Sundays sat outside time,
nothing on TV
nothing going on anywhere
the stores all locked shut
blank before the quiet roads.
My father, the Sunday chef, made pancakes
sailing in excesses of syrup
sinking into the funny pages from
the fat newspaper dozing by the chair
through which the morning passed.
Afternoons, we took long rides
even though the gas stations were closed
Back then everyone knew to keep a full tank.
We stopped where they were building a bridge
for the new Interstate spanning the gorge,
walking carefully to the half-finished span.
I found a broken yardstick my father let me keep.
By it, I still measure myself.



Ed Muskie’s final lament
Wish I had devised that burger that drives
a vegetarian to eat raw meat
to tear with cripple tooth
to drink the blood warm
still pulsing
Wish I captured the energy to unleash
the moment, bring down the rain
to meet the rising heat, force
a stampede, footsteps splashing
through whorls of steam
searching for shelter
ankles snapping
Wish I could be one
of those people who steals
instead of someone from whom
nothing is ever stolen

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