Night Fell

Slowly as a feather
drifting in luxury

down till it dropped
suddenly—a splat

of cobalt blue
inking the background

in all directions. That plane
taking off

from O’Hare
a week ago

really wasn’t gaining
altitude fast

enough, and I believed
for a moment

that my desire
to see you one more

time would kill
me for real. No near

miss. And then suddenly
it began

to climb,
and I realized

I would make it
back to Minnesota. Anywhere

you hang yourself
and survive

to tell the tale
is home.

Equinox Eve

The last day
of summer gets forgotten—
rafts and dinghies
already stored

in garage rafters
for winter. Some kids
starting their second
month of school. Some years

the leaves are already
turning—not this one.
Grieving the end
of nectarines and plums

over for weeks now. Memories
of swimming
in an ocean or lake or river or creek
in the heat fading

with a full harvest moon
that rose
three nights ago.
She missed it again—but not

the double rainbow that appeared
before a steady mist
accompanied yesterday’s civil
twilight. She won’t forget that.

Laugh Phoenix

You are my laughing phoenix,
I am yours.
Our cackling woke the dead.
Endlessly we cracked jokes
waiting for the fire engines (not red)
to arrive.

No, wait! Hurry! Get back
inside. Let the smoke
choke us out of five hundred years’
worth of played-out puns.
Six hundred too many Arabian nights
have us cracked up under the moon.

Reduced to ashes, we could ask to be blood-red,
winged beauties next to one another
shaking feathers forever in the desert.

But you would not reinvent yourself
with me. For me,
the ashes scatter irreverently. For you,
tradition’s fire in the belly burns
as you wait for ladders and hoses.

Dry as the skin of wakened dead,
the puns will reduce me
to tears for five hundred or so
more years. Unless, of course,
you weren’t my last,
laughing one.