Thursday, April 30, 2009


A slant tender yard;
a fence melds into misshapes of boxwood
where a small Austin Healey convertible
turns slowly a sienna, and sinks
sweetly every five years or so;
seems to bow to an applewood stump
my father chopped and burned
one Christmas 1972.

Looking down through the yard,
I have shaved off my beard
and with it ten solid years
of a different life—the whole west coast
was shaved off from there.

But a certain terror,
a hillside bouquet with a stump
and a sinking car, the sweat work
the very edges of axe swings
September brings.

There are no vineyards here,
although the few young ones,
crabapples in my father’s yard
under a perfect moon have been harvested,
the wine stored in remnant row jars,

and as severe as you can,
the emptiness of changing love,
you can bring it back
to the soft side of your tongue,
a remarkable laughter
in a fistful of regretful grounds.