Friday, February 13, 2009


- for Patty

Last night I dreamt of moths
one in particular
bigger than both of my hands together

and she kept trying to land on me
like a secret I should have kept
but didn’t. And I kept running away from her
because that is what I do.

And when I woke up I thought of you
up north,
wondering how you faired through the wind storm.

There are planes falling out of the sky where you live
there are burning fires, hot flames, all ash and smoke and death
but down here,
by the water,
it’s quiet.
For tonight all our planes have landed with
with the usual thump of gravity winning.
Another little unnoticed miracle, after all.

It was night in Brooklyn,
with the lights out
and the bridge keeping watch over everyone.
It was quiet for a change
and I dozed off reading a book.
That kind of peace is rare for me these days.

It was night in the valley
where my father slept
working his way through the hours
of sickness, of the constant pulse of the cells
sloughing off, the body betrayal
the falling apart of a man.

I know that peace can be generated in ginger kitchens
with the artistry of baking
the molding, the dough and sweetness, the bitter tang,
the sanctity of home, the holy space
but for me, with my twitching eye
my cold fingers and my screaming brain, peace can be rare.

So the moth
and I were wondering how you faired
through the night
because you are after all,
the only friend I’ve made in years.

Even if I couldn’t stay.


  1. i agree. what are you doing in that little room while i'm reading the news and writing the occasional poem?

  2. Thanks, don. and thank you for turning me onto Lisel Mueller. I've got her book coming via the library.
    And Jay, I've seen your folders. Don't even, kid.