Unforgiving November Sky here.
Orion ascends over dark fingers of trees.
I remember how my father pronounced Betelgeuse—
bright star of the Hunter’s shoulder—
how he pointed with his big toe,
arms limp with polio but strong left leg lifted high,
cutouts scissored into the tips of each sock.
I remember when my son first traced
the flashing belt, the pointed sword—
raising his little mitten up, up
into all the galaxies
born that night on the salty air.
Arms reach to draw me into drowsy
sleep. Betelgeuse blinks. Somewhere, father.
First published in Harbor Journal, Vol. II. 2008
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
—Hebrews 11:1, KJV
September’s early dusk. Kaleidoscope of light
through low trees. Starbursts become pinholes,
play tricks on the eyes. Minute by minute
each disappears. My small corner of earth gives up day.
What was there—perhaps there now—reduced
to faulty memory. Suspect memory. Nothing
to hold onto. Lights to turn on in here.
Yet this is the time the deer will come. A doe
with her fawn. In a precarious thicket between
summer & fall, she’ll teach him to nuzzle
only the choicest gems—cones dark as moonless night,
seedy & oversweet. I know this. Come morning,
dew-covered & new-sunlit fruits will gleam
on the ground. Come morning, the grasses will genuflect.
Inbox full, but I’m outside
chasing hummingbirds instead—
camera bouncing back & forth
each time they flit from tree to tree.
On the next bough & then the next—
needle-beak silhouette dark against sky
ruby-flash quick on blue
& suddenly I see the rest—as if my indoor eyes
had fallen away—
buttercups tall, sun-creamy yellow
& the blackberries—blackberries flowering
white like lace—