Your later ripped flannel shirts and papery hands

belied your early strength as a firefighter.

Clapping out blazes, heaving coughy infants

over your shoulder, getting your name in the paper,

back-braced and finally making it to captain.

Your five children surrounding like brittle pedals

and you the holding center, the master crop,

though humility and rosaries bound you to serve.

In projections now, we see the smiling Earl

at a bean pan on the stove, pulling switches in the basement,

fetching his nightly get — Genesee beer,

American-red and pop-top — and sinking in

the orange armchair drinking eleven’s news:

the king now in the corner rests at ease.


‘April Moon Poem’

April 18, 2014

Moon, oh moon, you opal cocktail waitress

drawing in slurry men with your magnetism.

A Julie, a Jaime, a Stephanie, a lover

devoted to brilliance like the necklaces you sport

for status and sleazy looks. You are a year

removed from high school but your webbing reaches

like rude boys at dinner tablesĀ or spiderĀ things in a corner.

The men all high with supper in their bellies

behold you but don’t know how to cradle you.

They’d extinguish you to rot unlit, unloved

in kitchens and eventual bedrooms

and all the lonely palaces of marriage.

But tonight you are a savior in an apron

for lost travelers and those who sit in sand

and look up at the numbers near your halo,

ever innumerable, always throbbing

and winking like the waitresses you are,

as warm and safe and distant as you must be.