sunset with insect (20161016)

the mantis
caught in my flashlight beam
gold and long as a finger

always our habit
to move everything to safety
–worms after the rain
or a leaking sprinkler
–spiders in the tub
–even yelling at the squirrels
/my mortal enemies/
tarrying in the street

i put my hand down
on the swidewalk
he needs a nudge but crawls onto
the meaty part of my index finger

this elicits a response
from a walker
heading in the other direction
they’re good luck, he says
and i’ve heard it’s illegal to kill them

i find a bush
hard to tell what it is
in the dark
and offer him his escape

he wraps himself around me
like a promise ring
maybe he likes the warmth
or he’s tired of all that walking
or maybe he’s just lonely

but i coax him off
onto the relative safety of the plant

Poem 20150730

he watches her go
and starts to follow
but stops himself

sure that whatever he has to say
has already been said
whatever steps he’s going to take
have already been taken

he thinks about the sound
his footfalls would make
a slapping on the pavement
hurrying to overtake her own
shorter, insistent steps

thinks about how everyone
will stare
and wonder what it is
that he did
because she is the one
storming away

and before she can get any smaller
diminish any more
as she attempts
to merge with the horizon

he runs

Poem 20150708

if you put me in a crucible
and turned the furnace up to high

(i’m sure forges have settings like
my kitchen stove)

i would catch on fire, melt,
turn into a real mess,

but would i liquefy as my water
boiled away and my elements

freed from their captivity in my organs
would they puddle deep in the bell

their components seeking like to like
what gold and what iron

would be separate from the dross
and would the pearl of my soul

shine like an unbreakable diamond
among the slurry

Poem 20141209

i want to foldĀ paper–
origami if you will–
but somethingĀ for you to wear
something that rustles as you move
and fragile
weak against the sweat on your skin
weak against the fire in your blood
weak against the touch of my fingers
something shiny and glittering
with gold filagree
and red chrysanthemums
hard to look at like the sun
impossible to look away from
like the full moon
in the winter sky