January 21

I am never so old as on One / Twenty-One.
Each year it seems Time’s winning (or has won).
Seems a fait accompli
That what’s happened to me
Can’t be reversed, slowed, or undone.

The forecast at Nine was received as a vow
Of impossibly high drifts of snow.
Yes, the snows of my youth,
Mostly meager, in truth,
Never failed to illicit pure Wow.

At Nineteen, the storms were capitalist ventures
Behind shovel on midnight adventures.
Pushing snow in great heaps
During the town’s dreamy sleep,
My thin wallet grew fat without censure.

Young adulthood is when all this started to change
(‘Course that’s when a man’s life is bursting with strange).
Now snow days don’t earn me,
Instead now they burn me—
As Personal Days, home on the range.

As my shovel and I both grow longer in teeth,
The deeper my Youth sinks buried beneath.
Still, a snowball in hand,
With arc perfectly planned 
Sparks a boy’s joy, like bright sword unsheathed.

The days nigh are coming, and soon will be here
When driveways and steps will be traversed in fear,
With my hand on the railing,
Begging feet out of failing,
Guiding my little old lady so dear.

Fair Spring is the season whose siren call is young,
And Summer is charged with energy and sun.
Swift Autumn comes on us
But leaves us in darkness—
These seasons, so regular,
What’s more, act as metaphors.
They alter and grind us
‘Til later we find us
Ne’er so old as we feel every One / Twenty-One.

January 21, 2018


Every summer it happens—
It happens that I become paralyzed,
Paralyzed, that is, with the decision
As to which of my girls
To nickname “Peach.”
The paralysis stems from the consideration
That each one is worthy,
And to a verifiable extent:
Dear to my heart,
Locally sourced,
As fresh as summer dew,
With a hint of tartness,
Rosy as the dawn,
And a sublime companion to waffles.

July 22, 2018

The Desk of My Daughter

The desk of my daughter
At the window facing west
Isn’t cleared before dinner
Despite her mother’s behest.

A clean desk would be
(Though it’s never been seen)
A surface that’s flat,
Polished, shiny, and clean.

But much like the world
On the Out side of the pane,
The girl at the desk
Never stays just the same.

She’s constantly growing,
Thinking, changing, creating.
The world at her fingers
Is for shaping and making.

So the desk at the window
In the messy school room
Will never be clean
While Jillian Rose is in bloom.

November 25, 2018

Gray November

Like the first few flakes of snow
On the leaves of rusty brown
Are the first gray hairs to show
In the beard beneath my frown.
Snow is “early” in November,
And I feel too young for gray—
But then again I can’t remember 
What my face felt like clean shaved.
One by one the flakes compound
And still Fall’s rustling with a hush
While the gray of Time resounds,
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

November 18, 2018

Broome Street

The streetlight aspires to a small role on Broadway,
And the traffic cop fancies that he was born king.
The pigeons peck pennies and wish at the fountain,
To trade their anxieties for songs they can sing.
The taxi cab wishes that he was a tugboat,
The dockbuilder whistles and dreams he’s a bird.
While only the poet—and just for one moment—
Sits silent and content, alone in all the world.

January 21, 2019

The Aster and the Goldenrod

I asked the crimson Sassafras

For a mittened helping hand.

“I must bring autumn home,” I said

To the yellow Maidenhair.

But the Sassafras just smiled and sighed

That he had other plans.

And that Ginkgo giggled down the lane

And left my basket bare.

I hiked the blazing mountains

‘Neath the Maples’ ring of fire,

I bartered with the Aspens,

For to procure their neon glow.

But the Maples would not spare a brand

Though expansive was their pyre.

The Aspens said, “No deal,”

And shushed me down the valley below.

With empty hands and heavy heart,

I trod the pasture lane.

No autumn in my arms to charm 

My own Autumnal Queen,

Denied by forest branch and bough—

Each tree’s answer was the same.

The splendor of their canopy

Inaccessible to me.

But as I turned at last toward home

And squinted toward the west,

My eye alighted on two flowers

Canoodling with a bee.

At last I’d found the hues of Fall

That fit my hand the best.

Now the Aster and the Goldenrod

Are coming home with me.

October 2020