Had a son, born deformed.
The doctor could not say why.
Edwin went back to work, hard.
Decades later, to his surprise,
His deformed son, still alive, got a wife
And had a son, born deformed.
The still-alive deformed son named
The new deformed son after his father.
Decades later, Edwin died.
Nobody was surprised
Except second Edwin,
Surprised to be one of the alive.
We're all in trouble, said the monk
Whose whiskers trembled against
His ears in the long breeze of perspective.
The landscape appeared much as it does
Now, and sounded much as it does
Now, and smelled much as it does,
But was nothing like this. Feel
That vibrissal difference, lost
To those who have never been bitten.
The Day Room
We live by surprise
And die by mistake.
Whose mistake? No one's,
Unless one believes
Surprises aren't real.
It was not important
That you survived. The rain
Forecast as snow rotted
The roof and dribbled down
The wall, blistering paint.
This was its argument:
These feathers from this living bird,
Dipped again in gods, the leavings
At the small end of an illness,
Moving slowly in the branches,
Alone in the dawn, anointed
The moon for you, dark in the door.
None more free than nothing to do
And nothing to your mind more free.
Open the door and you'll be gone.
Everything that happens has happened
Today. Uncertainty kept crossing his face.
It was, after all, maybe the darkness
Did it. After fall, the darkness would thicken.
There are things a prairie wolf remembers
That a forest wolf recalls as well. Things
Like the pockmarks on the face of the light.
If you see a shadow in shine, you howl.
Once, in More
Prosperous times, I had hoped
To build a house here, in this
Orchard. Not this
Orchard, since there's
No orchard here, but
Oh hell, poetry
Is not good enough.
I want to go home.
I want home to want me
To stay here. There.