Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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And Peggy Sue

They called him Crane, not Ichabod but the bird. I’d see him Saturday nights at the tap room where he won big money throwing darts, bony fingers on a different circuit from the rest of him when as he drank. Never pretty in daylight — when drunk, his angles seemed smoothed out, almost movie vaselined. The dim lit corners left the knife scar on his neck alone, a dull flash of on-off michelob blinking onto his baldness. Once, college boys found the bar, and while the rest of his townie pals shunned the clueless preps, he fought them at the dart board one by one with his dead aim, metal sinking into cork almost soundless, like a perfect dive knifes into chlorined blue. Always left them broke, their egos bleeding out. The drunker he got, the better he played, groove sunk cheeks split by a grin. He took them all, keening Peggy Sue softly between each throw.


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Seeing them off

Today they are still here,
and I am too, in late September.
My hummingbird pair. One darts in
to feed, the other perches
drinking deeply, tipping her head back
to let the nectar slide.
I feel that energy sweet and cool
down my throat.
Their absence looms, a large bell
with muffled clappers tolling
unopposed, reddening the trees,
exiling light, ushering in cold.
Lately the question, will they
visit me again, or will there be
someone else looking out my window
twelve months on?
Each year it is harder let them go,
as if there were a choice.


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The morning watch

He sits behind the screen,
the sun’s minute hand
remaps his curves in warmth.
With not much else to do
his morning’s work is
out there, living traffic
he will watch and note.
Force marched ants in
single file, small brown toads,
leaf rustles out of sight,
the swooping zizz
of dragonflies.
A hummingbird returns
to drink, then preen. This
makes him smile. Even they
must stop and rest.
The small world quiets, starts to
wait for shade, when high sun
moves away, raptors drafting
on its currents. He sees
and understands. Feeling
stiff he’s up to find another
patch of sun. A whoofing sigh,
then head on paws he sleeps.