Five in hand


May your years be kind

I remember the past in baseball cards,
each year a different design
sporting an outdated photo
driven by last year’s numbers
each year one year behind.
When the wrackie on the school bus
flashing disdain offered me his
saying he wanted this year’s cards
I took them, wise enough to know
last year is always this year.
Blood splitting the skin

It always happens overnight
in the morning you look in the mirror
and there it is, something coiled
beneath the skin, like a bruise
but likely worse. Perhaps with time
it will fade, but you fear
it will deepen and spread
It’s already too late. So you go
about your lost daily routine
and avoid mirrors.
The sky solid and static,
the earth slides against the grain
creating friction, cloudy bits rubbing
off and bleaching the ground.
Move inside the window
where you’ve sat gazing since dawn
Stephen Hawking explains the universe in twenty lines

Tired of hearing that we’re made
of the stuff of stars. Go back
far enough and isn’t everything
nothing on the singularity of
becoming? No one says
we’re a burst of microwaves
human ovens, a fast way
to a cheap meal, processed
and package for the convenience
of a future generation surviving
under the frozen surface
of a moon of Jupiter
all swirl and storm
rising in the claw of a lobster
go to Mexico, absorb it’s culinary
culture, start a chain
of restaurants across America
ready made for reality TV
Now, that is the stuff of stars

They return more often now
at the boundary of night
and morning light when I wake
hearing my father in the kitchen.
I smell the bacon frying,
fear the spattering grease.
I quiet myself
afraid they’ll discover me upstairs
doing something I can’t do anymore.
It was their house, falling to me
in my decline, their touches
still visible in untouched corners,
furniture in the correct places,
each step preserved
good foot first, then bad
returning the living room to them.
Wind the mantle clock.
They’ll be arriving soon.
After Thanksgiving

My brother stands empty
handed in the driveway
his son’s car loaded for
college. Like ash, we wait
like our father did
to walk us to the car,
give a departing word, a final wave
gazing through the glaze
of the car window, watching
slowly as we drove off quickly.
We repeated the ritual each visit
until the last one, when he watched
through the kitchen window
and we looked back through layers of glass.

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