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New Mexico Dusk

Black
Rock
Cuts
Thick
Purple
Sky
A
Gash
To
Show
The
Ragged
Mango
Edges
Of
A
Sun
Gone
West
With
No
Goodbye.

 

Ashes
(for my Father)

The leaves still fall in November
carpeting the dying grass
beneath the oaks and magnolias,
each tree offering a
variation in the sound of footfalls.

Your footsteps are silent now,
only remembered,
only by me.

Our late afternoon Sunday walks,
sharp as the light edged past
the tops of the now-bare branches,
cradled in the arms of a seasonal death.

You held my hand
as I walked along the wall when I was small,
and carried me on your shoulders
when I grew tired.

Both of us older,
we would ramble for hours
talking of everything and nothing
until my nose and toes were chilled
and my fingertips hurt
from the dampening cool.

And still your hands were warm.
Always warm.

I cannot think of your hands being cold.
It’s a comfort in some strange way
that you are ashes now
and not lying in the cold earth.

It fits that you are ashes and air
As you burned to me
so bright and warm
all those years.

The Sower (image courtesy of Duke Photography)

Dark Inside

The dark of a man can show.
That nightness inside a soul
Only hinted at
in the visage of
the one leaning against the wall of the bus station
wearing a touch of Rasputin

in the slit-eyed glance
of one in dirty sweats and matted hair
and busy, empty hands

in the flicker-licked lips
of the one who appears
beyond suspicion
and who acts
oh-so-friendly.

Yes, it shows, but only in a certain

dark light.

Close-up of a hand.

Opposable thumbs
A capricious gift wasted
On clueless humans.

Birds behind a screen
Taunt me with their carefree song.
“Hush” aches in my claws.

In home’s sweet darkness
I race with wild abandon
Alarming sleepers.

They say they own me.
Enslavement is elusive.
Who is the keeper?

I dislike this food
So I return it to you
A gift for bare feet.

Scratch behind my ears.
I share my love sparingly.
Stop at my command.

Sleeping pillowed head,
Path for my little cat feet
To the other side.

Still as a statue
I curl next to your ankles
Waiting for your step.

Your cooking tempts me.
Chicken on the countertop.
My claws climb your leg.

Nestled in your curves
I spoon with you warily
Until you crush me.

I allow the dog
To drool without cessation
Lying in  your bed.

Lest you forget me
I leave my most precious hairs
Upon your best clothes.

June 2022
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