Originally published in The Ohio Poetry Review.

Day & Night

Each day the ducks come on clumsy
Feet, bowed legs. Nearly

Crippled on land, dirty, a red swatch
Of mottled skin above their bills,

They’re not the kind people
Toss crumbs to. Yet they still manage

To pull themselves up
The embankment from the canal,

Across the hot pavement to
The stiff crab grass.

At the sliding door they squat, peer in,
Queer black eyes—strange

Exhibition—the dog yapping, scratching
The screen, my mother, wrapped,

Sleeping in her blankets
All day. A glass of ice and pain

Pills beside her bed. Each night
She drags her feet, two burning slabs,

Back and forth, bedroom to bathroom,
Bathroom to bedroom. Worried,

The dog drags her bones
From one place to another.

Originally published in the Suisun Valley Review.


Beside a small window of light,

my father is weaving twine,

making a basket.  This, and lithium, is

his treatment, a distraction from sadness,

until he realizes what’s been

forgotten and suddenly wants back

to his room.  But the nurse won’t let him.

She knows the earth after all

won’t fall off its axis

and shatter.  So the glasses,

folded on the nightstand,

like a complacent set of hands,

can wait.