Shhhhh, I’m Reading (Hour Twenty-Four)

Shhhhh, I’m reading.

There’s a world playing out in my mind,

While I sit stone-still, staring at arrangements of letters,

That give birth to whole lifetimes.

You can talk and laugh and walk around,

But please, please keep it down.

The River (Hour Twenty-Three)

Down the path and into sunlight,

And suddenly you are on show

To everyone already swimming.

Down the grassy path to a bank of muddy sand,

A few people at a time

Always leave their shoes, shorts, and shirts here.

Some cross the river, passing by the rocks

Jutting from the water’s surface,

Picking their way across a sand and stony bottom,

Sometimes slipping, sometimes swimming,

Arriving on the other side,

Rising, dripping.

The sand is tan and dusty and hot.

Some stack stones for occupation,

Others talk,

Some build lean-tos to sit under,

Or use ones left behind.

Young children run and chase on the sand,

Older children jump daringly from rocks into the water.

Both shatter the river stillness with the sounds of their play.

And now and then, the summer buzz of a horsefly or two.

Möbius Strip (Hour Twenty-Two)

Sometimes I feel we’re on a Möbius strip,

A Möbius trip

That never ends.

Now we’re on one side,

And now the other,

And it’s always surprising,

But always the same.

Dear Daughter (Hour Twenty-One)

Dear Daughter,

Please follow my example

In about fifteen percent of things.

The rest of the time, do the opposite.

I’m pretty sure you already know

Which is which.

The Girl Who is Left Wild (Hour Twenty)

The girl who is left wild,

As she should be,

And not tamed,

Will freely follow her Fox and her Bear,

Wherever they may lead,

For they know exactly where she needs to go.

A girl who is left wild and not tamed

Will trust things wild,

Wild wisdom,

And will walk straight into the heart

Of your decaying civilized world,

Where wildness strains to reclaim what isn’t working,

And she may scare you with what she dares,

But she will show you how to reclaim yourself.

The Execution (Hour Nineteen)

I was led to the gallows

Gruffly, by indifferent men

Who’d learned not to feel.

They pushed me forward,

So that I would climb the steps.

When I reached the top,

The hangman looked into my eyes.

How are you?” he said.

Pardon me,” I beseeched.

Excuse me,” he said,

As he slipped the cover over my head,

Then the noose,

Adding, “Thank you.”

Pardon me,” I implored,

Though he was not a lawman.

And his last words, which came after mine,

Which I heard as darkness became light,

Were “Have a nice day, darlin’. Welcome home.”

He Was People (Hour Eighteen)

He was people.

He was a good boy.

He started out

As a ball of fluff

Who fell asleep in my arms

While we decided which ball of fluff to take home.

This one.”

There was no choice.

He was the loving one.

Thirst and Heat and Madness (Hour Seventeen)

I sought in him comfort,



And adoration,

Things that were scarce

In my desert soul.

But that he held these things for me,

And kept these things for me,

Was a mirage,

Of thirst and heat and madness.

I Was Calling (Hour Sixteen)

I was calling you in my mind, willing you to hear me, beseeching, in your own.

And I may never know if you felt me,

If I entered your mind unbidden, and you fanned me away like errant smoke.

I doubt I’ll ever have the chance to ask,

And more than that I doubt you will remember these little details,

Which, to a mind like mine, are the stuff of life,

And to a mind like yours are dust in the wind.

I was calling you, calling you, and eventually it was me I had to call upon

Because I was the only one who could answer.

I was calling you in my mind, willing you to hear me, beseeching, in your own.

Lucky Muscle (Hour Fifteen)

Lucky that cardiac muscle

Is involuntary,

Otherwise we’d be in trouble.

What if we forgot to make it beat?

Or just didn’t feel like it today?

Like a folded fist

Nestled beneath the ribs,

The four-chambered life pump

Sends oxygen-laden blood through arteries,

And retrieves deoxygenated blood through veins,

In an endless life loop that we barely notice.

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