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

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.

My Dad Makes A Walking Stick

Sometimes he will just stare 
into layered forest, like a 

surfer watching waves. Look 
closely, poison ivy, ferns, dogwood 

flowers. Walk with him, see 
downed limbs, branches sprouting 

green, but soon to die. Notice 
these things, the fallen are

hiking companions. Fractured 
Virginia wilderness, hickory, oak, 

walnut, redbud, wood that he studies 
to know. Even before death some are 

stronger than others. Always has 
a serrated folding saw, he holds it 

steady, cuts five or six feet, bits of 
tree dust drift with dragonflies. He

carries these pieces like shouldered 
fishing rods. In the basement, whittling 

knife separates outer bark from cambium, 
sanded before brushed with lacquer to 

dry, then shine, touch the earth again, 
reflect the gleaming sun.

Of Time and the Kite

when my daughter was young we flew a kite
from her wooden deck, bedroom balcony
she held the string, I watched wind
invisible thing
nearby leaves rustling, flapping
nylon snapping, waiting for release
to soar or sink, ever the question
on a day such as this
the two of us standing there wondering
what does it mean to fly away?
I let go, her twine wriggled through fingers
up and up it went
sun stopped for seconds
our fabric patch covering time

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.