Our Family Dogs

Sam was short for Samurai,
a lion like Akita, let me eat
from his bowl when no one
else was looking. He killed
neighborhood cats, then
one night a car killed him.

There was Popcorn, named
by my sister, part husky
she loved to run away,
nose against screen door, then
escaped on down the road.
We’d yell Popcorn like circus
vendors, until she came back home.

Ginger was part sheltie, but
thought she was a cat,
never more happy than
sitting on our lap. She
loved us, and we loved her
back, there was no other way.

My Best Moment All Summer

My son made 100 baskets,
really quite a feat, for
he’s not a natural athlete.
He stood in the sun
and watched the rim, again
and again and again. Mostly
he missed, but that was
no matter, because he never
quit. And after many minutes
over an hour, in fact,
he drained his last bucket,
arms triumphant in the air.
I hugged him very close
my best moment all summer

House Says Goodbye

It is only a house, wood, paint, single pane glass windows,
but ten years pass and it is no longer ours, no longer

that two-story blanket that covered us in our laughter,
held our bare feet on floorboards that knew our family’s

groove, from Gangnam Style to I ain’t your mama, no I
ain’t your mama, not anymore. Sold, our Spanish

American War casa, Victorian era, master bedroom in
the San Francisco fog, where I daydreamed through

tree leaves and power lines, pondered this and that, scribbled,
loved and prayed on dark rainy nights. This place held

us in moments, just moments that always go on to the next,
the goodbye was always waiting, we left and it said hello.

Kentucky Fireflies

All is stillness in Kentucky woods
where fireflies flicker, earthen stars,
one, then another and another.
With my son, we get to sit and stare
together into glowing darkness,
watch floating journeys. He clicks our
flashlight to say hello, then asks me
to stay close before summer slumber.
Breathing softens, he falls asleep.
I lie next to him for many minutes,
let life be at ease. With dawn there
will be another day, but for now this
is all, this is everything.

Evening Prayer

I don’t pray every night, but I probably should. After baths, books, conversation with wife, I usually drift into writing, creating, rearranging words on a screen. Mind a whir, could journey depths until dawn, but the clock of calculation, of sanity, of sacred sleep, tells me to stop. I go into my daughter’s room, turn down her light, I love you, I say to her curled up slumber. I meditate in my son’s room, the sound of his breathing, my pew, my stained glass, my sanctuary. Seated, darkness, air in, carbon dioxide out, first minutes filled with brain bouncing from thought to thought, the earlier, the tomorrow, the could happen. Then sometimes the indescribable now, when I’m nowhere, everywhere, witness to all time, and no time at all. Emerge a short life span later, pray for my colleague, that her malignant tumor retreats, allows life, hers to continue. It feels like I could stay forever, talking to God, to no one, to everyone.