Edna Meyers

edna meyersEdna Meyers died in bed

her last earth-thought stuck on her face:

“a dream about gentle Jesus

or old Mr. Meyers” we think

after we have had our look

and looked away,

An unfinished expression

on its way to a smile

but frozen along the way

like a winter stream

whose ripples and wrinkles

are fixed by the cold–


Her last moment

has worked its way up

out of the dreamy dark

and into the morning sun,

but we cannot bear it.

We talk in whispers,

use a sheet to  cover it up–

like nakedness,

send it off the the mortuary,

to be erased,

keep ourselves up at night–

try to forget.


first published in Psychopoetica 1989

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The Wellspring

When I cup my hands

a certain waywell spring

(mug-shaped, so it’s sort of dark inside)

and if I stare long

into the hole,

my creased skin and fingers fade

and I can see the wellspring behind my

boyhood home.

It’s full of melted snow

with a patch of blue sky floating on the top,

and bright speckled pebbles

at the bottom,

looking like treasure.

You can get one

if you want to get an arm

and an ear wet  reaching.

I think about the knees of my pants

soaked by dew from those alpine grasses….

before it all starts slipping away

and seeping back

into that better time.


First seen in POET’S GALLERY

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My Sister Keeps The Cats


cat lady

My sister keeps the cats for me

down below;

down unlit concrete stairwells

with filthy walls croaking out

course graffiti in whispers

swallowed up by the dark;

down to the corner

where the boy is laid

wasting away on his pillow

lying awkwardly on his shriveled legs;

and past the smell.

You have to go a lot further

to get where the cats are kept.


The four white mamma cats

and all the striped kittens

and calico cousins–

they aren’t accustomed to visitors.

They would quit their sleeping

and romping and wrestling

as soon as you looked through the wire,

and then suddenly leap

each into his own cannister

arranged in order along the wall.

They would peek out at you–

just ears and eyes.

If you stare at them too long

they grow masks

and turn into ducks–

some people hate cats you know.

You would meet my sister there.

She’s been keeping my cats for years.


First published in SAMISDAT


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Oh tentacled pillow,

pulsing your warm inebriation

through borrowed veins,

you exaggerate!

You make the night-light

a lover’s moon,

white shirts on the doorknob become

silky dream women,

and the hairy dark is a wool blanket–

an assassin’s device,

stubborn on my face,

with my best friend’s voice somewhere

repeating, “Shh…go back to sleep.”

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Father-Daughter Talk

She squirms into my


as blind and naked as any

featherless hatchling

fallen out of a nest.

She reaches–not fists

but hands finger-spread,

quivering , open , palms out;

a chin-shivering mime

showing me where the walls were.

She starts to cry

and it comes to me, “She thinks

she has been flung out among the stars–alone.”

So I bend over the table

under the light…and whisper

words into her wet,

thumb-sized ear.  She quiets,

then searches my face

with her lips.

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Ryan’s Grave

ryan's grave

The day we buried him it rained.

Umbrellas and sagging faces,

and strobe thoughts in a flash storm–

everyone swallowing …everyone swallowed up.

Words and more words pelting me …

like little round pebbles…that bounce off my skin.

The casket lid glides to a voiceless close

under the canopy,

then a spade of dirt violates the silence–

The grave gradually swallowing its own spit,

And then life crawls on all fours back to the car.

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The Tree Farm

christmas tree farm

My frozen breath parts

Without magic before me,

Spilling over my shoulders

As I walk.

I see rows upon rows

Of tree-children

Worshiping in this field.

They keep their lines straight–stretching

Up to the black ridge,

And down to the silent river.

Little faithful firs

Standing perfectly still,

Their green turned gray

By the moonless night.

I pause to watch them

Through my self-made cloud.

I see them all reaching up,

Their boughs wearing

Frosty white gloves

Inviting both stars and angels

To dance on their glistening fingertips.

They are Christmas trees in their souls.


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