My eyes blur on the page: no exercise
could sharpen typeface outlines as I stare
or make the sun run backwards to a time
when I could see even this faded print.

Perhaps more light might help? These bulbs, grown dark
with overuse, are fainter every day
or merely seem so- shadows overcome
their luminescence now, in afternoon.

Our days are growing shorter: equinox
seems almost here, and we have burned daylight
all summer, thinking we had ample time
to build each thing our hands intended here.

So now the race begins: read what you can
while there’s still light to see, write what you are
or what you would become, before the year
slides endlessly into the winter’s dark.

2011 String Poet Prize Honorable Mention


“Here, while good fortune and our youth allow…”
~ Horace

Look there: the forest, leafed now with its green
exuberance of budding lobes renews
itself and us whenever we can gaze
with something like clear eyes on all its forms
holding a moment in our sight, as if
instants could last forever if we look

closely enough: once, in a blizzard I
descended a long slope much like this hill
while snow clung to the windward side of boughs
contrasting with rough bark of sycamores
and saw her, brushing drifts away in blue-
her scarf a wave of silk on the white shore-

or once, in January, when the clear
new wind had swept its coldest air across
the polished granite of a harbored bench
and she, in chiseled sunlight, clear as glass
her sharp outlines defined by scrimshawed scenes
leaned forward, as her jewelled eyes engaged

my own a moment, burned to memory:
if we walk now into this midspring wood
where oak and locust merge their woven leaves
creating hidden shade, and if she turns
a moment towards me in her gold thread blouse,
grant me clear eyes to hold her in my mind.



Consider, then, this evening: our time
folding away, like nympheas, this dark
half-closed around us, and the laden wind
unstable as the halfgrown gentians
more unpredictable than spring, and yet
delphiniums have blossomed in the past

and even withstood thunderstorms, so we
like them may know another season when
our arms are intertwined like tendrils, or
like leaves burdened with rain, half-overcome
yet rising as the roots swell- floral clocks
marking this dawn’s cold revolutions- give

our names or words to this, my love, and we
can be almost reflections, in my hands
place yours, and lace the fingers- surfaces
mirror our openings, and windless dawn
unmarked even by water-poppies may
reframe our sentences of evening.

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