to the guy who still holds the 8th-grade school record for long jump

you’re my age now, I’m thinking
as I wait for the game to start
how we engrave these accomplishments
as if they might matter
thirty-five years hence
do you even know
your name is still on this board
and what does it mean
we hold these selves within us
from a time when such things made us strive
to be important to someone—
to ourselves?

 

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this softness

I want to proclaim it
to the man leaning and yapping
at the department store clerk
to the sheath-dressed woman
high heeled, on the phone
choosing bagged lettuce

I want to turn it inside out
spread it like dandelions
or honey or something
in a cooler hue, a green
slow rain, complete release
from striving

Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

the worm-quest

to break through this green glaze of sameness—
small boxes with neat shrubs, hamburger-plain—
to the good brown dirt beneath, remembering our souls
built from lumps of clay prairie-stirred

wanting a spice, a song, a scent like your new penchant
for sriracha; a jolt, a leap into the vault beyond
this daily circuit, this merely driving
up and down arteries quickly clogging

they say if you’re not growing, you’re dying, but
I’ve been drying on this rack for years, home-grown
herbs medicinal to my kitchen motto: sauce on everything
until I become mere compost for the roots of the tree of life

 

Thanks and apologies to Jane for this borrowing of the worm quest.