April Gifts


the cardinal sudden like words
from a friend, bright unexpected
against leafless sky, same sweet
song and soul-balm


not faith but a kind of pride, your belief
every day should offer something
like this dirt finally warming,
hand-crumbled, enough?


if the pansies survive
this record cold, it is no god’s bow
to the balance due, nor even
to your impatience


For a long-lost friend

wednesday was your birthday and yes I still remember

freshman year, walking in hot spring, holding hands
sitting in the sharp grass of our front yard (you could
bike over, then) talking and talking, devastating
the grass, writing long notes on loose-leaf paper
that you called “letters”

and I returned from summer vacation and didn’t return
your calls, how you wrote te quiero on the first day
of sophomore English, but I hadn’t learned that much
Spanish yet

playing Mr. and Mrs. Shakespeare, senior year, learning
some girl was jealous (perhaps unrelated) though

you drove us in your mother’s station wagon
to that Something Club dinner where they read
our words—scholarship stuff—and after we talked
and talked (cassette tapes on the car stereo) as fate
would have it, my future husband called to ask me out
just as I walked in the door

and graduation day, in our red robes and gold cords
and all the trappings, milling around the giant hall
actually called the Coliseum, of six hundred-plus
also-robed kids there you were, running your speech
by a bank of phones; I wanted to call
your attention once more
and lifted a receiver


NaPoWriMo Day 29 prompt is an “I remember” poem. 


I spent a good hour
tearing pages—my words
printed, yours in pencil or red ink
of varying insight or helpfulness
and now I can’t imagine
this grief is as much
over our faded friendship
as the recalling to death
of these characters I once loved
and lived with so long

(all my beloveds go
the same way, ashes
to the dark, glinting
memory stitched
into quilts: soft-worn
fragments here
there hard-bright lines
passing beauty)

Spring Things

A beautiful evening in the city:

flowers other than pansies

before Mother’s Day, fragrance

of two dozen roses just shined—


and I need some ideas if we are able

to go outside, like pick up another

smaller grill, talk to the people

you love, host a front-yard picnic


The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 17 was to write a social-media poem. The above is based on Facebook status updates and is just about the right speed for a Saturday.