Three Counts

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I cannot draw
but I did
my best to gild
the functional canvas of
his
field-trip lunch sacks
with apple trees and
iron gates and
atoms and books.

(It was the only way
I could be
there and anyway
PB&J
is boring enough.)

The truth wasn’t,
though.
Needed neither apples nor atoms
to make it
any more
there
but we can’t help
ourselves with
such scintillating sin.

(We save our
sharpest
crayons for the
cleanest
lines of our
deepest
fears.)

Still
I wanted to draw
that Sunday,
as someone stood
in your stead,
the way you were:
hands raised in blessing
bouncing on your feet
so willing to
love
us and me and them and
him
as God so
loved
the world
with, surely, angels
at your side and behind
and around.

But I could only
see a darkness
billow from
organ pipes
to claim your shadow,
sneak from
under choir robes
wrap your wrists
(again)
in chains and
the laughter couldn’t’ve
been yours because you
were screaming
as its claws sunk beneath
your soul.

So instead
I wept
because I have such trouble
drawing hands.

Urgent Message When Flashing

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It’s power, of a kind, to draw
the attention

ACCIDENT EXIT 93 EXPECT DELAYS

of zombied motorists with a
silent,
amber scream

FLOODING HWY 2 ALT RTE CR KK

to warn of jackknives, pileups, sinkholes,
(perhaps) transdimentional hordes

COFFEE ON CAR ROOF FULL DARK ROAST HELP

on southbound I-85.

As the boundaries of traffic form and
fade within
roving, elongated

GLORIOUS DETOUR RTE 17 EXIT 12

search lights
how bleary and half-dozed must seem

DO NOT IGNORE CHECK ENGN LIGHT ASK UNCLE JACK

the line of urgency at 3:27 AM.

How stippled, how cracked.

DID YOU HEAR THAT

Yes, But

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Our fear of slippery slopes
kills joy in its sleep,
ties God’s hands behind our backs,
rises from Satan’s coffee to
curl about his face as he stands
in his bathrobe watching a black
dawn loom above the trees.

Crazy Cat Lady

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I cradled him, fresh from a morning
surveying his kingdom, into my face;

smelled winter beneath his fur,
flowerbeds behind his collar.

Wondered at those who collect these
haughty envoys, risking the ire

of municipal codes and threadbare
trope of crippling loneliness

to surround themselves with smells of
life, now, beyond their grasp.