The Racers

August 21, 2018

as mothers hollered

and moths collided

the sweaty, mashed-hair kids

raced once more

through the streetlights’ fresh dots

then said their goodbyes

and pedaled slowly home

not yet understanding

how quickly summers go

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Indoor Recess

January 11, 2018

playground blacktop

painted white by fresh snow

daydreaming schoolchildren

and fogged up windows

Old Photo Albums

December 5, 2017

Thumbing through old photo albums

I see monochrome ghosts in the prime of their lives

Smiling

Laughing

A gleam in their eyes

Soon to be memories in a dusty book

The Balloon

November 28, 2017

against the poorly folded violet sky

a single balloon floats up toward night

another childhood dream let go of

The Ignorance of Youth

November 17, 2017

when you start catching glimpses of your father’s face

reflected in the mucky shop windows you pass each day downtown

— and if you haven’t yet, you will —

Mortality is suddenly that annoying frat brother from college

not so long ago

getting his ever-pubescent jollies

by razzing you about the ignorance of Youth

unaware that

if nothing more

Youth was your one true friend

The Table

November 15, 2017

“This old table has got to go,” my wife declared today

Old, indeed

And, admittedly, not very attractive

Well, really not at all

A hand me down from my wife’s father when we were married long ago

It bows a little in the middle

And wobbles a little more

The leaves slowly push themselves apart

Aging lovers tiring of each other’s charm

I sit silently in my weary, matching chair

Looking hard

Looking deep

The maple has darkened over time

The protective shine has worn away in many places

Allowing exposed grain to suck life in

Dust

Dirt

Greasy fingerprints of childhood ghosts

Flecks of cheap paint used for rainy-day art projects

And tiny, crushed-in cake crumbs from birthdays long forgotten

This is where we were

When life seemed like it would last forever

Of course we’ve since learned it doesn’t

This wooden slab served best friends

Close family

Neighborhood children

But, most days, just us

That was probably our preference

We ate big country breakfasts

Strange casseroles that were barely touched

Great-grandma’s homemade spaghetti recipe

Hotdogs and beans when times were tough

Grilled steak on summer Sundays

And carry out pizza for Friday fun

God, Fridays were fun

Game night

We just played Risk, I swear

Eating meals around the board for three days straight

So cautious not to disturb our patient armies

My wife was pissed, until she ended up winning

This is where we did homework together

Wrote letters to far-away people

Assembled toys on Christmas morning

Paid bills, and bills, and bills

Pieced together jigsaw puzzles in the dead of winter

And made important family decisions

I drank coffee here every Saturday morning

While loved ones faintly snored upstairs

The feeling of true contentment

This is where my babies sat

Being fed with little spoons

As they grew we only cut their food

Made them eat their vegetables

And finish their milk

When it wasn’t spilt

No use crying, but we sometimes shed a tear

Still, laughter was heard daily

And even an occasional prayer

Looking back now I realize many prayers were answered

Right here in our favorite spot.

The kids still come by every now and then

Though not too often, these days

Missed sorely, but never forgotten

“Suppose you’re right,” I finally reply

Running my wrinkled hand across our kitchen table.

The LeavesĀ 

November 8, 2017


the green leaves 

play hide and seek between branches

dance in spring winds

and lounge the dog days away

enjoying each other’s shade…

clinging together in cold rain

they find close friends 

and take a lover — 

content in their little tree…

so quickly they age

turning brittle and gray 

they begin to fall 

until only one remains

alone for the first time

he nervously waits

grasping with all his might —

though he can’t quite say why

soon a gentle breeze 

forces his fate 

no one left to tell goodbye