Communion with strangers

the mailman didn’t leave the stack in the hallway, as I had worried, but rather held it to give to me today (twenty-four pieces, which included one personal letter to me, from somebody amplifying on our Seventh-day conversation in North Carolina, or as he pronounces it, Nor’car’l’na, a personal letter to Iowa from another in Pennsylvania who must have his addresses mixed up, I’ll forward adding my own greetings; three magazines; my union newspaper; six bills; unsolicited junk including offers of wild credit lines if I accept more I’d be rich if I could reach the right country without extradition

As a zealous professional

so pleased entering my apartment to see everything tight, still in place, no vandals, though the temperature was 89 degrees, apparently the maintenance crew had come in and set the thermostat at 80 to get the radiators going and then left while ignoring repairs to one of those single joy-stick faucets that takes an eight-dollar washer kit to repair, I know, because the three-dollar one I bought had the wrong kinds of springs and plugs and doodads, and none fit


Construction report

behind plaster we rip from the kitchen crumbling accounts of protracted death Floyd Collins 15 days 1925 age 36 Sand Cave Crystal Cave Kentucky as published in Boston, accounting inescapably cold mud and implacable rock when my own parents were first walking, yet this story my mother related as if she were on the carnival rides of its macabre vigil but now we find nothing holding this roof to the walls so much callous indifference riding on the blind arrogance a foolish turn, perchance, or just dumb luck when it comes to catastrophe of course, I remember living on the roof of a cavern down in muddy Indiana

Remarkably, it seems

what’s happened I no longer want to travel or climb the high mountains or is it just all the moves across the continent and back, my years on the road, my commute daily so stretched I’d contract into my nest and grounds for reading or revision, the places I’ve been and people I’ve known so many I want to know my own better . people come from all over the globe to see the landscape I call home


Seriously, Saul

stuffed in the official portrait how Happy it is Ground Hog’s Day already with its SOLAR SEASON running six weeks ahead of the calendar, thus the first half of spring overlaps I don’t care what some people say, a photocopied Christmas message still delivers So how was the Holy Land?


Merrily, Noelle

what news you published, contorting that instant, overcome with discomfort, a whirl as alert as any orchestra as that last confused and perplexing note confirms coyly your reckless addiction to lost causes, frankly in retrospect, it really didn’t take hours to start your obligating my leap without a job I’d subscribe to, oh, yes, the lifeblood we identify when you demand a reply, there simply isn’t enough time in two days for whatever prevented your return to the meetinghouse that weekend

In your mother’s dreams

brutal deep-freeze, heavy snowfall blanket, ice dams on roofs, melting drips through ceilings the hill resembled a resort ski condo development appropriate considering the city-operated slope on the other side of the expressway runs a single chair-lift I tour the surrounding woods on cross-country blades and observe bald eagles wintering along the Merrimack and recall the rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, desert along the Yakima, views down over the Mississippi or Potomac or elsewhere in New England . spread your wings, then, in the thawing


When she phoned again

within some perspective, the past and future as an hour-and-a-half chat in part about her new love or lover, how could Squirrel not be pained trying to separate truth from layers of self-deception making him wonder if she’d ever seen him clearly as he was after all moving into other circles as one eligible male the single women had their eyes on yet what shock he realized later seeing how blinded he’d been, his heart solely on her, the news coming amid gossip of that “intimate little dinner that breaks things off” where he heard, fourth party from a third, “first, pour me something stiff” and salty as teardrops running for miles while most really do want nuts, no matter what they say


The first and most learned

a pattern of fern shadows cast by candles playing into a snug culmination rented theaters where hillsides tottered in the unspoken gamble of her slightest motion, some indication if anyone commenced singing against the walls and ceiling of an unclothed expanse of potential a warm hand broaches, scratching its initials on frosted windows and then a lower back arched for precision a cappella with the choir we clocked a blizzard of treetop squirrels far below whatever our season and there you have it . tenderly