thaw

Deep
footprints sunk in swift mud,
tire treads of a season
shedding loneliness like
unneeded garments by an
open door, shameless
and dripping and pre-
possessed. Beauty
unleashed with the
ferocity of tightly strung
pearls
suddenly set free from
a shapely neck,
tossed violently
to a ne’er-do-well of a wind
beside a skirt
puddled brashly on
cold stone.
Skin
braised
with gooseflesh
from the nascent breeze,
her secret
petals
unfold.

prayers in rough wood

My prayers in rough wood
are strung up with twine and hope,
spiral like incense
to an unhearing heaven,
float back to the ears of men

Who with gentle hands
unfold my finger-petals,
suck out from cupped palm
the splinters of unborn dreams,
catch the bleeding dew of faith.


This poem has been re-posted from its original appearance in Poets for Tsunami Relief, a blog-zine by twitter-friend and colleague Heather Grace Stewart. In keeping with the original intent of the poem, and the publication, I ask that you please consider contributing to relief funds through the Red Cross by clicking on this link or texting (details here). Peace and love,    —jsl

grandfather on God and Richmond, right-justified

 

………. I’m not sure about God.
I’ve seen too much of ugliness for it
to be intentional,
………. too much
of beauty for it     not to be.
……….  ………. Take,

for example,
……………….. the downtown silhouette
from across the Manchester Bridge
on a winter’s early evening, the
moon just shy of full,     blushing
behind lit twelfth-storey windows, the soul-eyes
of a city half-wrapped in rivermist
and dinner plans, grinning teeth
of January jack-o’-lanterns reflecting
over rock and rapid.
……………….. Or
Fourteenth and Main
on a rainy rush hour,     drops
………. spilling river-ward through traffic light
and streetlamp, tires
leaving splashmarks across
the footprint of cavalry and

………………………… slave.

Better yet, walk    with    me
through the whispers
at Belle Island, where the voices of fallen prisoners
haunt the college kids sunning like
………. sea lions out over the self-same
rocks. (Have you seen what they feed them in those cafeterias lately?)

……………….. When autumn comes,
the waters will rise in waves, creeping up
………. on the empty beer cans and cigarette
……………….. packs, washing them down
past Chapel Isle and the ruins of the Confederate boatyard
as the river     runs         home.

………………………….. When
I’m dying,
take me to the old hospital
where McGuire’s successors taught
medicine with stolen bodies;     no
chain-linkedSaint-named designer cure
for this gentlesoul.            Andwhen

I’m dead
take me to
Hollywood
………. and a spot
……………….. where I can see the river
………. from a grave
without a cross:
I’m still
not too sure about God.