From the collection: Awakenings

Our spring was the earthworms


groping out of the close loam,


across river-running asphalt

gutted smears

fresh-plastered everywhere the way

our Eastern Redbud cried

it’s time!

and we believed it

crossing the green-brushed marsh

the lusty living crying and croaking

and taking wing;

the sunshine promised our bare necks

the earthworms turned euphoric

toward their

watery slaughter

how could we not

The New Jersey Swamp Slips Past the Glass

The ice-rimmed pools, the grey road,

the January of the horizon, question.

Where are you going? My grandfather had

a foundational faith that has gone wholly

uninherited. In the hospital, his delirium broke

once. He sat up suddenly, eyes clear like the sky

swift-scoured as the storm breaks. His voice

loud. He said, it’s so beautiful. And lay back down.

I wish I’d asked – what? He had showed me once

how to splice a rope so that its ends would not fray.

It’s so beautiful could mean so much,

or nothing at all. What is? What? DRIVE SAFELY,

say the letters on the storehouse wall. Ahead

the smokestacks breathe into the open sky.