He Loved a Parade

A patriotism
I did not inherit. Along Asbury
Park’s Main Street
heading toward the shore—the last one

we watched together. Tears
came to his eyes when bagpipers marched
past in their wool kilts. Their drone
pipes in near perfect harmony. Fireworks

have frightened me since dodging
M-80s in the Paris metro
on Bastille Day,
then in the New York subway

every 4th of July
for years. I could never keep step

with a group. Always got the incurable urge
to cross the street

in the midst of it all
against the flow. But now
that he’ll watch no more
parades, a single bagpipe

opening wide those first notes
to “Amazing Grace”
is a freeze
tag tap I cannot ignore.

Day 212 (When I Am Home)

I am New England dirt,
the taste of beets out back.
I am not brownstone—
not urban by birth. I am

still in quarry depth,
the scent of cars rusting beneath.
I am not ocher—not red
iron ore impure. I am sipping

fresh water from a claw-foot tub
turned spring, overflowing
to Bone Lake at dusk
and warm. But I am not

the moon to be collected.
I am not forty jokes memorized—
not working a room,
timing accent and plot. I am

ready to mark this laughter
the colors of a flower bed
against brick. I am the line
drawn purple—blues and reds

of a road map
preparing to fold everything
I am
(except magnetic north) in place.

They Were Identical

She pitches pennies
on the floor in the back
of a New York taxi cab
with twins

she used to know. Thirty-five
years. Nap dreams mean

nothing unless she chooses
to shape them
into visions to augment
the afternoon light.

She’s not going to
google those boys—

learned her lesson.
She doesn’t want to kill
off any more of her past
sooner than it needs to expire.