The Ill-Fitting Armor of Light

Big snow coming, they say.

I’m slowly becoming a very old man
and with such tiny wings
what could I possibly
carry away from my mountain of things
to map my brother’s black path back
from the graveyards and laundromats
and his rattlebone rests on cardboard flats?

To map his path back
to a place where
the roof shakes less and
the needs aren’t hard.
Where the outside’s out
and the inside’s in.
Where it’s only the dog
that shits in the yard.

Could I, knowing his rot,
issue the call and huddle him here
though I’d know the chill chatter
of his sourmash teeth
and fermented bones
would shake loose the joints
of my safe-steady home?

Could I, knowing the curelessness
and depth of his rot,
don the secondhand suit
of an imprecise Christ
that I find every night in the recycle bin
in a faithless attempt
to faith heal him?

I could do that, yes
and take fake comfort when
he says (all over again) that
I love you, brother
and
This time I swear it’s for real.

But still he’ll just gnaw at the mortar and beams
until he brings down the whole god damned thing

and here comes the dog

and there go my wings

Ghostmeal

Quit loafin’!

A cold kitchen warms until
risen dust simmers
barely a breath above a bonesmooth table.
If, later, you ask the mouse he’ll

say that he’d swear that he
heard at least one wood chair
scootscrape the stone floor
over there, and that he didn’t

have the nerve to come out
after that. He’ll say that only he
can say how, for an hour every
day, your kitchen stirs time into

silence, how it kneads a dough
of what you’ve known and lets it
rest there by the stove. How it never
hurries…never worries…that you’ll

come home before it’s done. In the
paledark air of that vacant space
where a low flame’s at patient work,
your old kitchen feeds its ghosts

Prompted #2

We’re not still writing about heroes, are we?

Cubby has provided another prompt, this time asking to finish the poem that she started like this:

A hero is born not from the laurels
Of glory but from

Here’s my effort this morning.

Who Wants to be Sung About, Anyway?

A hero is born not from the laurels
Of glory but from the dull
bloodless stories
scrawled on the walls
of ages-long labors. Stories
more boring
more slow
more common
less told.
Stories so quiet you don’t
hear them unfold.
A hero is born not from the laurels
of glory, but from prints left behind
by old boots and slippers.
A hero walks mutely through
history’s whispers.

Soft, Sweet Armor

On resisting the things that actually threaten our harmony, our unity. We never go deep enough.

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Guard against the joylessness –
the shout
the sloganed cry.
Guard against the chanted curse
and truthful-seeming lie.

Guard against the joylessness –
against the sheepish fright.
Guard against the mirthless marches
that wilt without the light
(a truly righteous Army thrives
even out of sight).

Guard against the joylessness –
the hunt
the bluebird’s noose.
Guard against the flashing placards
that turn a lynching loose.

Guard against the joylessness –
against the textbook heart.
Guard against the low momentum
of the classroom’s faded arts
(the ivory’s crumbling fastest
at the over-polished parts).

Guard against the joylessness
my son,
my girl child,
by suiting up in Mother’s grace
and by wielding Father’s smile.