The blocked-off stairs
to my grandparents’ rented second floor
when I was five
was a closet with levels I could climb.
The light was gold
and dusty, and it smelled warm there
as wax and women’s work.

Love Poem

There is a line of young bald-cypress trees
across the front yard before you get to the ditch.
One moment they were bare as toothpicks
studded with birds. Now it is the next.

But this is a love poem. From somewhere
I can hear a laboring engine–lawn mower,
tractor, or small plane–I do not believe
it is a mockingbird, but anything’s possible.

It did stop raining, and last night the stars
were like bluebirds. The dew is thick as honey
tinged with green and the yellow cat
next door is preening on the garden shed.
But in a love poem I would be remiss
not to mention you, a book, a freight train.

Love Poem, Too

If you must manipulate me,
don’t let me see the strings. Or be
endearingly brazen. You’ve heard
how much I love the mockingbird.

I can’t abide snake oil, hollow
flattery, braggadocio,
any wanton abuse of words,
but I do love the mockingbird.

As I love sweet, surprising blues,
melting hot doughnuts, twofer Tues-
days, a pun so good it’s absurd–
so I love that damned mockingbird.
If you must manipulate me,
again, I love the mockingbird.




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