We fill the silence with ourselves.
Afraid of absence of stillness of soundless.
The truth we hear when nothing speaks.
and my son said his was people who say ‘baggies’
but i thought peeves would be more prevalent
and i replied ‘you must know more drug dealers than i do’
and i imagined wesley snipes new jacking with ‘baggies’
and ice-t laughing in his face
but my son had lost interest
Cardboard as tinder, strips tightly
wound and set amongst the ashes, like
a pan of cinnamon rolls.
My fingers, uncharacteristically sure
of themselves, place kindling within the whorls;
sticks and twigs he gathered and
left as an uncertain offering at my feet.
It catches, the fire.
Licks and bites and snaps,
crawls and claws its way from
base to wisping logs in a
It’s a thing I know:
heat, fuel, air is a fire.
So few equations seem as reliable, now;
unexpected results, ineffectual and
I can do.
His equation has grown exponentially,
from heat, fuel, and air to givens
I no longer recognize,
variables I don’t understand.
And so my fingers shake as I lay his kindling in
of stifling and
until all that remains is my
I blame Sophia.
If Dorothy was quick
her mother was prescient,
only waiting long enough to bind
her barb in space and time,
and so affirm causality.
After a lifetime
mainlining marathon reruns
her spirit rides my soul,
goading me with a beaded purse while
sotto-voccing snide rejoinders
into the minutest caesura of life.
She will not be silenced.
this pillar of faith, loitering
in the House of God turns in his pew
to dismiss these lawless thugs
this servant of community, rotating
my tires warns of their
parasitism and lack of insurance
this bumper of a judge-not worshiper, proclaiming
‘BAN THEM’ throughout the church parking lot
but never, no never, our guns
I am silenced.
when I first saw him,
a bounding black cloud
thundering toward my horizon:
a boy looking for a friend.
He stayed with us
until that day
I had to stack the shelves and sweep the floors,
direct customers to the canned
whole chickens in aisle five
while They did whatever it is They do
to friends who once escaped the yard
me at school during recess and
the principal let me walk him home but
who can’t walk anywhere anymore.
So, I get it.
But when my son’s eyes are red-rimmed and
welling with rage at yet one more
failure / betrayal / Talk
with a father trying too hard
he knows what’s coming demands more than
paper-or-plastic or expired milk or stray carts and
his son bears the brunt of that fear until
their ties twist taut and love becomes
a strained and brittle mask,
please forgive my snicker at your dog-parent sticker.