October 1

A garden-variety massacre:

Powdery blight, tomato
stems felled, liquifying, putrid,
thin brown, fruits on the ground
in varied states of decay, forests
of mold hairs, copious and fine–

Under gray skies
in sodden soil collapsing
husks returning to whence
they came–

There was a storm
that shook fruits free,
there was hard ground
that split their skins,
there was a rat
that sunk in teeth

and then there were seeds

so many small promises
that even neglected even
laid to waste

nothing is wasted
nothing has gone
not really, not
completely

Standard

September 29

{postseason}

Strike, clutch, wind-up,
ball, infield outfield,
warning-track, wall—

Nothing so simple, really,
standing room only,
it’s what we discussed:

87, not 88, a final win and yet
a loss. We need another bat,
a decent response

to something that was months
in the making, regret defeated
in the face of too many

places where it could
have gone wrong—
1-6-3, 3-6-4, bunt, balk,

error, walk, a path diverged
again and again—
or emerged, if you’d like

to think of it like that,
discounting the power
of what never was—

Standard

September 28

In your absence the dog
has elected to sit outside

moping on the deck
in the late morning cool.

In the forest, a constant
call and response, and she,

though pampered, still animal,
more attuned to the language

of birds.  I read a book on it,
am now trying to tell a cry

from the canopy from a sigh
from the floor. Or a whine

from the door–
she doesn’t want in,

she wants me out–
there was a chapter

cautioning against
anthropomorphizing

but creature comfort
is a very good term,

relatable, in that she
wants and wants

and what she wants
does not fit into words.

Standard

September 27

A little drunk you stopped
and stooped to see what
LP was splintered on the walk
as two men smoking outside
the tattoo shop looked on,
amused, Ah! Sweet Mystery
of Life– we walked back past
the taqueria and playground,
the pot dispensary, its night
-melded neon, a temple with
rows of prayer wheels outside,
you turned them one by one
in front of me, but said you
said a few prayers on my
behalf, love still the end
and all of living, hope
skipping back, and
the broken record, it
could mean something
but really who knows what?

Standard

September 25

More rain, irregularly–

halfway across the bridgespan
but no further

still, the return
of clouds is a comfort,
having complained about them
all my life

they’re still mysterious

here sky-like, there,
hurt pink, hematosed,
light pollution probably–

now it’s stopped raining
and the silence
is distressing

erasure by halves
worse than none
at all

Standard

September 22.1

They blink their wings
outside the window glass

longing for the moon
but how they’ll settle

for less
dragging dusty

wings along
as an afterthought

a starless night
the cold has a edge to it

the dog keeps barking
at nothing much

just the house settling
and us still awake

with only a lamp on
a beacon for moths

the envy of hundreds
of unreflecting eyes

Standard

September 22

Down in the valley
I saw a white horse,

I though to wish on it,
but took too long
thinking.

The next pasture over
was a flock of sheep,

still in the distance,
but I’m sure up close
they were moving.

Just how tired
do you have to be

to be unable to think
of just one thing
you want?

Just how far will I
need to drive

before I admit
that it’s possible
to move in one sense

but still be
stuck overall?

Standard

September 21

{Packing}

From the upstairs window
half the view is gold;
dried grass and Russian
Thistle, what tumbleweeds
are when they still have
roots.  The other half
is blue, pallid, or placid,
it depends on your mood.
On the neighbor’s roof
five magpies are raising
the alarm, chasing
a flicker from the dried
-out pine. A bee won’t leave
well enough alone, a thin
breeze comes to shake
the spider’s lines,
and when it comes down
to it, letting go is as natural
as holding on, but us, we’ve
lost our guiding instinct
and lean too heavily
towards flight.

Standard

September 19

steheiken

It’s strange how little
time is required

before a presence
is noticeably missed;

all day on the boat
fifty-one miles up-lake

one waterfall
the rest dried up

a couple of flag
stops, exchanging

mail bags by pole,
a six foot draw

no excuse
for risk

a couple going
backpacking

dropped off
at the trailhead

and we all waved
and waved

because we’d never
see them again

Standard