24 The Present

It wasn’t the gift I’d imagined

most parents give only love

but often the things more lasting

are those for which we long.


Your absence gave a presence

a strength that could never fade

and so by leaving you helped me

more than anything you ever gave.



He was only a little dragon

he hadn’t hardly matured

instead of fire he blew smoke rings

and slept in a Fabergé egg.

Like roses and gold he glistened

scales rippling in the light

he smelled of old books and tobacco

quiet as a stalking cat.

Somehow I managed to loose him

but his presence is always here

creeping along the shadows

filling the night with his smell.


22. Waiting

Have you ever loved

Someone so hard your breath felt


Like a monstrosity in your chest

Struggling to get free

I lie awake below you wanting

You promising to give

Every fiber to your keeping 

I hear your bed creak as you move

The floor shifting with your weight 

I’m longing my love 

Come down and make me your own.

21. Mother’s Care

Don’t hold needles

between your lips my darling

My mother’s perpetual mantra

Surprise could be fatal when the 

slender shaft, slips

perilously down your throat

I work in the ends of my knitting, placing

the needle in my mouth

Daring my mother’s voice to come from a distance

and chide me.

20 Persian

The Persian weavers made flaws—purposeful 

Rends in a perfect piece

Only God is perfect they reasoned

Centuries later we admire

Their mistakes—the brokenness of image 

How it made the beauty 

more apparent—light is brightest 

In the darkness

So too I hope my failings—defects

Will make my life more full.


I don’t know what it is to be



one body perpetually



I’ve always been holding two



From the view of acceptable


Just once I thought perhaps I’d


Abandon  my varied


But we can’t overcome the



Binding us into who we


18. Switzerland

In Switzerland the dogs wore muzzles

while riding on the train

Their thick, dark fur impermeable

against the cold

We stopped in dozens of villages

before we reached Jungfraujoch

and looked over Europe from above

On the way down we didn’t eat

I imagined myself freezing

into centuries of frozen water

Another soft layer blanketing

the alps in snow.

17. Coffee

Everyday at 14:30 the Mokka

burns a little on the bottom


We know this will happen

and that it doesn’t matter

how much people prefer Nespresso


Because everyday day at 14:30

we drink burnt coffee

and go on with our work.




16. The Poem

You are the poem I was

 always trying to write 

The memory of happiness 

left in my soul at birth

When I read beautiful things

 it was your shadow

 in them that thrilled me

I felt you, but couldn’t see you yet

My soul wasn’t ready—perhaps

 it hadn’t suffered enough 

To appreciate the sound

 of your laughter 

Or the way your shirt falls 

softly against your shoulders 

Bearing the weight of your thoughts 

and aspirations.

15 Holiday

We sat waiting in Heathrow

watching the floor polisher

move quietly to and fro.

You rambled on about superiority

as I counted the people in purple.

Airborne didn’t bring much change

I tried to explain the differences

between Jesuit and Dominican education

An answer to your question.

You mentioned it didn’t matter

While imitating the stewardess’ accent

And I knew no foreign land would ever

make me feel half as empty.


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