Songs of Fictive Moments: As you left

I did not listen to your leaving
as you left. I did not hear 

the floorboards creaking, the scrape 
of your fingernails on the wall

down the hall, the click-click
of them on the doorknob, the 

catch-cracking of the latch opening 
or the scream of the hinge of the door. 

No, I did not hear them at all.
I stayed where I was in my chair

with my thoughts and my drink
and my stare but I did hear you stop.

I heard your breath catch in your throat.
I heard the hesitation in your step,

your two desires pulling you apart, 
pulling you to pieces right there 

on the threshold, right there in the hall.
I heard the split in you. All these things 

I heard as you stood there, the house 
ticking around you, the floor 

stretching away down the hall.
I heard your cheek almost touch 

your shoulder, your chin almost 
touch your collar bone and then 

I heard your head whip back to 
front, the snap of the earth back 

into place. The slam of the door
I did not hear, and again

the silence as I sat. I 
was firm in the fabric  

of the seat of the chair.
I was sewn there.

My skin tore 
as I tried to rise.

So I didn’t.
So I let you.

(The third piece in a series of unrelated pieces that are somehow, in my mind, related)

Songs of Fictive Moments: Rocking

(The second in a series.  The first can be found here.)


On the south side of town,
a young couple 
pushing a stroller
rounds the corner
of a closed cafe 
among two-family 
and four-family

They walk half-way 
in the heat
across a small, empty plaza,
stand and wait, 
as they talk,
looking down at the sidewalk,
and down the street.

A bright white 
suv pulls up
at the curb, 
rims shimmering 
chrome in the sun.

The girl--
thin with lank 
blonde hair and 
willowy skirt
--walks up 
and stands 
on tip-toes
at the driver’s 
side window.

The boy stands back, 
rocking the stroller. 

The girl 
leans in.

Hands move.

She speaks,
tucks a few 
loose strands of
hair behind her ear,
looks up at the sun,
looks down the street,
looks up the block
and steps back.

The suv drives off
and the boy 
and the girl
go back 
the way they came,
pushing the stroller 
and examining 
a small package.

Songs of Fictive Moments: The Soldiers

A bit of an experiment I have been thinking and working on.
Fictive moments.  Cinematic vignettes.  Images.  Minimal ornamentation.
A story that is mostly told by not being told.


In a cold field of gray
and stubbled grass,
six soldiers stand
in a circle smoking.

A chill fog swallows 
their words.  Their
long coats flap
in a desultory wind.

Before them,
at their feet,
at the center of their circle,
a blossom grows
from a small and 
cooling form,

one bright color marking
the early arrival of another,

as dull
as the fog, 
as the field,
as the uniforms.

They stand, 
as stiff and still 
as the stalks about them
and as dry.

At the edge 
of the field,
a crow coughs 
and climbs
into the sky.