Poetry - July, 2010


Kiss of death

     (after an image by photojournalist Gerald Herbert)

That little tragedian, the dragonfly,
wings smeared with earth’s black blood,
stands glued to its stem like an orator.
It will never leave this soapbox now.
Just hangs there spread-eagled, a wee-Jesus
on a crucifix of grass. Some undertaker
draped its rainbow in a shroud of pitch,
shined its tar-ball shoes, closed those onyx
eyes for good. It has become an effigy
of itself. It wanted to tell us that it died
for our sins. But its lips are sealed.
This orator without a speech,
ne of the meek, so busy inheriting
the earth, it never noticed the evil tide
bubbling up from earth’s slit jugular,
it never saw that drop of gleaming crude
on Judas’s lip.


Your side of the bed

It’s time to rotate the mattress.
Your side is well worn
from the gravity of heavy sleep

whereas mine has only the barest
outline, my small frame
pressed into it invisibly—

the tall and the short of us,
the snore and the silence,
the kick and the toss,

the quiet staring into the dark,
blankets and quilts for every season,
the listening for each other’s breath

and wondering when sleep
will press the pennies of death
onto eyelids closed for the last time

and then, ever the want of warmth
and the smell of skin, the other’s cheek
pillowed inches away.