Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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Non pareil

The kitchen basket is almost empty
a single red tomato moated with sunlight 
waits for my touch 
Time is short, blooms of mold 
will soon claim it and I don’t want to lose
this object of my tongue’s lust
Perfectly ripe, its sleek skin 
hints at a tantalizing split 
ignored for now
and I dismiss the temptation
to ravish without finesse
preferring the small pleasures
of anticipation
Slices fanned onto a blue moroccan plate
dressed in a squeeze of lemon, green olive oil
and basil slivers
become lunchtime’s non pareil
Each piece a grapeshot burst against my lips
already parted in pleasure


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Among giants

At night the woods world
rises up in vast formation
as the dogs and I
walk among giants
in the cool cocoon
of my headlamp
They are eager
oblivious of our escorts
seeing with their noses
unaware that we are not alone
Sunless, the axis of this space
has tilted on its side
there are no open reaches
to the mountain base
well known trees or brook cuts
calling birds or fresh snow
yielding fox tracks
The quiet that blankets
sight and thought
is only in my head
this place is never voiceless
even in deep winter
I follow in the wake
of wagging tails
and steaming breath
breaking trail into the dark


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Originally published in Dancer in the Mist, 2015
Revised 12/2020


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Tipping Point

Not the moment
you came down the stairs
that first night and
I recognized the future

Not the sight of you
after a year apart
walking out of the airport fog
with love on your lips

Not the joy of raising children
our hands clasped hard
to speak love in silence
our shield against their fledging

Not the words
that turned time finite
and wanting to leave I stayed
knowing you would have

The love that whispered
its long goodbye, until
I found you one cold morning
and knew your heart
had left without me

It was this

________________________________
For Mike


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Thinning time

Seven mornings in a row
the early eastern light
has snatched me away from sleep
filling my eyes with huge slashes
of sunrise, dark angry and pink
The first was on samhain, and
I could see the hand of Rage
reaching slyly toward the thinning 
scrim of time’s divide
its camp follower Fire hoping
to slip through alongside
compressed to nothing
like the soft bones of mice
The whispers of my genes begged
shout No and cry many tears
They will thicken the dawn
refusing entry to this surfeit of evil
All you love depends on them

Audio: Read by the author.



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Floaters

High summer in an old house
occupied by an army of visiting bugs,
brings dreams of parachutes
for those I must evict
The one too many ones,
the wrong kind of spider
A waving scuttler scooped up,
all elbowed legs and angled hairy parts 
Run the mercy packet to the door,
release the tissue wrapped passenger
and watch it float down to sanctuary
on a bed of violet leaves 

 

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A very old house. In the winter we have critters. Summer brings the bugs The right kind of spiders? Thin bodied long-legged spiders that look like Charlotte.