If Lost at Sea

Let the pen
be a compass.

Strap the pen
to the moveable arm
that sweeps the page.

One arm of the compass
takes wing.
The other arm,
like a branch,
remains fixed.

Enclose eternity
in a circle.


Though fingers fly,
economy of movement
is prized by musicians,
whose daily practice and rehearsal
carve the shortest path
from one note to the next,
rushing water rounding
chimes as it wears
down rock.

Air blowing through
the instrument’s bore
cues the fingers to lift
as breath is released
and replenished.

Do runner’s feet remember
the rhythm of the race,
soles lifting off as rehearsed?

The palm of the drummer’s hand
beats the stretched hide
but it’s absence of contact
that allows the drumhead to resonate.

Even planets and stars in orbit
practice an economy of motion,
each sphere contoured
to receive and reflect light.

Yet love proves the exception.
Love, extravagant as the stars
of the Milky Way, knows no economy.
Like snowmelt rushing over rocks,
love’s ceaseless energy
sustains all, carves rock,
fills the deep ocean bed,
crowns mountaintops with clouds.
Without it, life would cease.

Even so, I’ve seen the oxbow curves,
and know that love rebuffed
charts a new course.

The Way

The way lilacs
bloom after frost

the way light
shines in the darkness

the way the sun
never sets

the way the heart
withstands fire

then shakes
the ashes down

like ashes
from my uncle’s pipe

like ashes from the hearth,
swept clean