The Crane

After her brother’s passing she looked
for communication signs, types of text
messages from the underworld.

Most often, she said, they come in unremarkable
things: feathers, dream visitations, scents, animals,
stones, coins.

She found multiple photos of cranes
in his collection.
Thought nothing of it.

The next evening, in bed, a quarter was
tucked beneath the covers.
On the back, a crane.

She gathered this close like a garment
to warm against winter’s chill &
the next day a crane swooped in front of

her as she drove, low, passing in front of
the windshield like an aerial ballerina, a
dance from the dead.

Months after his passing his house
smelled like fresh cigarette smoke
every time we entered.

So she would sojurn with spirit,
watching for cyphers from the

reaching out, wondering how to
look beyond the curtain toward the
west & a late naples yellow sun.

Waiting for Snow

A snowstorm means more than the company of
people. I prefer the white stillness, the hiss hiss
hiss through dark hemlocks. More dependability
there. More predictability.

People begin as snotty urchins. Though I would
like to embrace them, never a reason do they

I think of these things as a nomad through
Walmart. Looking at the Christmas tins of
chocolates, cakes, candied fruit. Nostalgic
holiday scenes like a Norman Rockwell
painting embellish the capitalistic surfaces.

Transformation is what is needed. An Ovid
metamorphosis where I tithe to snow, to ice,
to the dark waiting spaces patient & eager
as a wedding night virgin,

for the only absolutes are dark & light. All
other archetypes stem from these primal
patterns, experience-dichotomies blinding
all with the confused oppositions sprung up
like Bacchus belly crawling through the
trees to spy a fair maenad or two

sweating in a frenzied wine dance, naked,
writhing, a personal cinematheque for those
who remember Bergman.

Tension between them all: snow, human, supernatural
spirits—without an exposition no dénouement
sought that has any reality.

I Am Rome

This land, this haunted isle surrounded
by demon seas that I have crossed beyond
the limits of the known world.

I am General Aulus Plautius come to make
Britannia Roman after the great Caesar fifty
years agone fled from the illusion creating Druids.
Not their warriors that must be taken, it is their
Gods that must be killed.

Not the wolves calling in the dark night forest
song, not the banshees craving the flesh
of men, nor four legions behind me made
boys by Druid magic.

Their gods. Gods of their underworld, the ancestors
incarnate in body older than this cursed island,
older than Rome, older than the world.

The goddess Brenna, of earth & fire, water & air,
of wells, springs, rivers that empty into the dark world,
of woman mysteries that control men through the moon’s
image, she is the first, the one.
She will bend her knee in royal homage as
all have done. The first stone skipped over the sea, a
multitude to follow.

I am Rome.
The world is my home.


Rounding the curve, halted by the SUV’s
emergency blinkers winking like some
Dis tower, I fell obediently in line as a
first grader in the cafeteria.

Head on collision, the officer said,
before directing me to the detour
ahead. Passing the crumpled car,
front shoved in like a monkey playing
accordion, I noticed the blanket covered
form loaded like a cord of wood
into an ambulance.

This one on a final detour from Sunday
morning church. But aren’t we all on
deviations, diversions?

Through the rain, the mist, the mountain
road, around one bend & an Amish
horse & buggy clattered on asphalt.
What detours awaited that black capsule?

Who could know. Detours.
Bypasses in time like a train switching

If I had detoured from the first love,
where would the train have taken me?
Not that moment, so not this minute.
Daughters instead of sons.
Dogs instead of cats.


What about your sidetrack?
you would have married
another & never went with
your wife to find her brother
three weeks dead sprawled in the
doorway halfway between the
bathroom & bedroom. You never
forgot the smell.

Or your sister who lost her rosary &
became a whore not a nun &
never met the suicide she would
have saved.


Like the Amish above who swerved
away from the 21st century, zigged instead
of zagged, found themselves in a 19th
century wormhole so that I would spy
them on this Sunday detour on a road with
many curves.


I watch the Twilight Zone New Year’s Eve
marathon, the aliens disguised as humans,
the beautiful android women, the demonic

They fill the TV space for us,
being human, to know that those
Tessla waves radiate out into the galaxy’s
center where from that same radius
mirrors the chill, habitable sounds
of our interior spaces, the

Jezebel’s heart who sits at the window, year in
& year out, mourning the snow where no tracks are
left by her lover, just a row of
pendulum swinging tongues
beyond the town where the beer-bellied
screen watchers sink back into
commercials &

I hear words grieving
the echoes, the
belated candles buried
within their mouths, for

space is dark, coldness between the
stars enormous. No working out of
complicated details can mute the
distances that cannot be closed.

Better for the Jezebel to robe in
rose hues for the party & after the
disattiring completed to dream of strange
things in her attic bed.


Winter, it is winter. Hibernal squirrels
wake only to feed on fat nuts & you are
wintering with a Dali dream.
Though you climb through frost crusted
hemlocks thoughts turn to mind’s eye &
below the cliffs of Dover the wintertide
rolls in gray like the spirits of sounding
whales whose bones lie brittle in the dark
deep, muted songs brought to wavelike life
by the traveler’s percipience.

Winter, it is winter. Snow season brought round
after summer’s layoff, fall-seeded white spell purer
than baptismal’s robes, decay’s opposite; slumbering
rejuvenation tingles the fingertips through the sensual
bark of the trees, matted frozen leaves blown down
into a textual pattern that you follow and read through
your boots, an earth song ice-covered waiting for the
wind as conductor to whisper sky-hymns where the
mountain nods to salvation’s grace & it is not this
place but the abode within the place.

Winter, it is winter. Ice on the pond waits patiently to
crack, to splinter and throw out creation’s moment
in latticed design fine & elegant as the spider ahead
of you as a black hole at the center spinning time &
space, random fates, haphazard, unique as each
snowflake falling on your tongue where you drink the
juice of the gods & decipher the meaning of meaning.
How strange & how familiar this time wrapped about
you; breaking pupa free there is no need of insulation
from kinship.