One Hundred Days, or Memento Mori VIII

Why count the piled-up
hours of grief? As I get closer

to our number 8—
another day

in the last month
of a depleted year—

I realize even tipped
on its side,

its resemblance
to infinity

is a mirage. Even 8
is not immortal.


A bed of pine needles
because it’s Massachusetts.
You wear a shirt studded
with diamond-shaped snaps
two nights in a row. I’ll never tell

you how I like the gray
in your beard
the way I told him never
to shave his off
30 years ago. I won’t mix

you up. The music is
immortal. The flowers he grew
were something else.

Evening Skin

“Onstage the Scottish musicians begin to break the skin of the evening and the music fills the room—mandolin, guitar, fiddle.”
—Colum McCann, from Zoli

It doesn’t matter if it’s shattered
diamonds or glass she sees winking
in fresh snow to carry her home
after dark. This splinter

pain touches her left foot
where the big toe attaches itself
to the sole. Nothing there
but a nagging to remind her

she is no exception. Mortal—
with a limited number of steps, breaths—
she’ll strive to keep them
in unison as long as a splinter
moon allows.