Life may not be as bleak as it seems.
The hurried seasons—spring, summerand fall—may plow into winter’s caboose, send it vamoosing.
Asking peopleWhat happens to them after they dieIs like asking babies in the wombWhat happens to them After they’re born—How can they answerWhen they don’t even know
the laser brush we watchedburn soot off the gownof an ancient kore
the Delphic light, siftedthrough the nets of the godsto fall on us
a cold wet compress to her foreheada brisk rub and warm breath on her pale little handsa shiver her eyes blink twice then openspring comes around slowly
Yesterday morning I’m pretty sure it was yesterdayI started walking along the beach toward someone whowould meet me at my destination. Where it was orwho it was I can’t remember off the top of my head.
Cancer is not a ringing bell,a queen of spades. Cancer is notyour mother’s hand-me-down, strung likepearls along the lymph nodes,smoky quartz clustered in the caving lung,
I’m sitting on a park bench noodling linesfrom a Billy Stayhorn song, Somethingto Live For, “watching the noon crowds,”when a woman bumps me with her hip.“How are you,” she asks, and I choke
Mom said, Kiss her hand.I didn’t want to kiss my teacher;especially not on the bulginggreen vein of her thin hands.I think she had red hair. She waskind. She sent a memo home:
Incense and extinguished candlesScent my small-town Saturday night.Post-benediction, our priest returns to the rectory.Stained-glass filters church light into the dusk.A mourning dove signals daylight’s departure.
Wisconsin Academy Administrative Offices and Steenbock Gallery
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703