Magnolias in Wisconsin
I prefer these northern strugglers, plunked
in inhospitable front yards, and banked
each winter against the cold. No bigger than
a man, crabbed and flowering the briefest span
of days each spring, a week at most. The petals stark-
soft as milk against the still bare branches’ rough-cragged bark.
Too quick, the blown
petals wet brown
and shriveled over the cooling grass,
a frayed and fraying lace.
Somewhere Piano, Again
These are the rehearsal rooms of the brain.
Strangely echoed, some, and others
strangely dead, wander once more
the narrow, ill-lit halls.
Rehearsing and rehearsing
on the instrument of haunt, reversing again,
and overheard through walls, muffled,
a someone else, anonymous, not quite
in tune, remembered ever, trying
and trying (how much we want)
to get that passage right.