Tallahassee is cold in March.
We didn’t come here to relax.

Ten days in a hospital bed,
his future: uncertain.

Ours too.

His memory is gone.
It’s not coming back.

She was wrong, of course.
Hardly tactful but wrong.

TV spelling bees
and a red balloon
from friends at school –
conflated memories.

On his release
we drove to the Gulf,
the magnificent ocean.

Warmer, though

It is March, after all.

Crazy gulls
swoop down on us from
pale gray skies.

It feels good to laugh.

Alone in my ’76 Mustang, glued to the infectious beat
and enticing lyrics of Radar Love,
my hand slaps the dusty red dashboard.
I am twenty years old and this is a fine summer day.

A splash of salmon atop a dark green shell
is visible a quarter mile down the road.
Turtles move slowly and this one is no exception.

A sanctuary of prairie sage marshland
lies just inches away
alongside this quiet stretch of blacktop.

I wonder
if he can reach safety
before our impending impact.

Nobility, however, gives way to a reluctant curiosity.
Accelerating, I bear down
with only the slightest hesitation,
my trajectory in perfect alignment with his asphalt 20.

A nauseating yet strangely satisfying crunch.

Continuing north, I drive toward town
to pick up a few groceries
for the upcoming 4th of July weekend.

I envy the artists
their mastery
of line and shape,
shadow and melody.
Color, language and light.

Trophy words,
aching to secure a place
in human discourse,
that subtly convey
haunting, graceful movements.



Words that transcend
the deepest realms
of our truths
the sureness
of thought, cunning in its deceit
crafty in its assignment
tenderly reminiscent
elusive of what is real
      and here
         and now.

The virginal canvas
void and unsullied.
Redolent of pain.

The makings of magic.

Hades itself towered overhead.
The hellmouth’s
seven-ten split
bade her an ominous welcome.

Roar of flames,
maniacal laughter,
roasted flesh,
severed tongues.

Welter of limbs,
eternity of battered teeth
splintered skulls
crushed bones
and a grieving of souls
mocked and embraced her.

This is as it should be.

The truth of his words
obliterated her last glimpse of the sun.
Reficul’s terrible voice
filled the hall.

Legna looked away.
A few minutes to consider?

He stroked her cheek
and softly hummed.
Of course, of course.
Take whatever time you require.
But you already know
what it is you must do.

Long before craftsmen
sought walnut, cherry and oak
for cribbage boards and magazine racks

Daddy set a match to the unusable cuts
from logs he sawed into planks
and two by fours.

Massive configurations
of bark and knotted scraps
lined the ditch bank.

Massive conflagrations,
my father’s inferno,
burned well into the night.

For years, I avowed the actions
of a six-year-old daughter
who feared the flames

would devour and destroy him.
I tossed the contents
of that little red can onto the pyre,

holding firm in my belief
it held only water
At sixty-one,

is it safe now to confess
I only wanted to see
the fire dance?

Words hurled
onto pages of pristine white,
not unlike chunks
foisted upon a receptacle of
cold gleaming porcelain
late at night,
sick with fever
and nauseous purgings
of what preys upon my brain.

A vomiting of ideas,
stream-spewed consciousness
raw and unfiltered…

Oh, wretch that I am!
How to heave a tidy
sanitized version
from the dregs of my mind
simply because
you say that I must?