First

[After Maggie Smith’s Good Bones]

To make a place of beauty:
First make the maker beautiful
or at least not so ugly.
For that, first, find another who sees
you’re beautiful.
And for that, first, make another beautiful
in your eyes.
And for that, first, make both eyes
as vulnerable as children
loving fearing everything that’s seen.
Then make your vision
visible so your children see you
have held back nothing.

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Unwanted

We want what’s wanted sharply here and now,
Without regard to if or so or how.
While what’s unwanted lies
Beyond all blunt surmise,
Awaiting fate, heart in fist on brow.

First drafted: 12 August 2016

Underground

We travel together, companions
On separate pilgrimages, praying
To separate gods, alone
In our closeness, smiling
Without sharing the funny, certain
Of timely arrival, indifferent
To prophets, adventures, and miracles, blind
And busy as insects underground.

Flowerbed

The seeds you planted so long ago
Have flowered in my heart,
Made friends with worms and bees.

The long summer you tended me,
The sun gentled, the dust settled
By your fierce kindness.
But the autumn blossomed into winter,
The way our days unfold
Toward death.

The young need loving,
And the old know that nothing
Feeds the hungry young
Earth like yourself.