Three Months

The labor of breathing
without gasping
through these hollowed-out
days. The fear

of never being able
to recite the Serenity Prayer
again because of the way
the throat closes shut

before “grant me”
can escape. Just one more

bear hug, one more laugh
over lost cookies, one more
email exchange, just one
more hand squeezing, one

more simultaneous gazing
at the same full moon
while standing thousands of miles
apart, one more walk

side by side
would not be enough.
I surrender to this
grief and put my trust

in the wind still blowing
from those resilient wings.
Death’s got nothing
on them.


A lull toward late
fall, messages arrive
scrambled. Those born
on the light shrinking side

of winter solstice
carry an extra
burden. We must generate
an expanding light

from within. And it just might
illuminate the shoreline
for those of us now walking
the boards in the afterlife.

Before I Got Lost in Lakewood Cemetery

Inside the most exquisite
mausoleum ever built
this side

of the Mississippi,
a door to the sunken
garden slams shut
without help

from human or wind.
As I admire the rose
onyx floor with my fingertips
and follow the wedge

of light to its source
(perfectly angled skylight)
above, I wonder if
ghosts monitor

both descents and ascents.

Impression of the Upper Part

A thumbprint
is something to behold
until it is all
you are. Head, shoulders,
widening tie. Identity over
unity, you cannot fathom second

person plural, can no longer tell
the difference between
a swirl and recoil.

To the Lighthouse and the Jersey Shore

Less than a month to prepare
for a stretch
of 960 moments
that have lost
their luminescence.

I pick up
a flashlight and laugh
at the minor beam
I try to control. Dream

of a lighthouse
freed of its hurricane
ravaged land guiding me
to a place where he’ll be

walking on reconstructed boards
to the rhythm of the tide,
beckoning me
to catch up to him.