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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

The Honey Locust Tree

I asked my grocer friend,
woman of a graceful smile,
a hundred subtle expressions,
cashier at Krogers, how she was.
There was determination
in her eyes.
A lock on her lips.
Something imprisoned inside her.
The bleakness of a bird,
unable to rise from the grass.

Push the items over the checkout.
Push the groceries in a pile.
Push life away, item by item.
Cost of living.
Sums to be paid.
Dishwater down the drain.
One breath of sorrow at a time.
Her eyes flooded by confusion.
Went to a funeral, she said.
I watched my items gather.
Someone close, I asked?

My girl friend’s son, she muttered,
as if blowing the words over her lips
to relieve their numbness.
He was eighteen, her only child,
then sharpening a knife edge,
she added,
he died of H1N1.
The pandemic flu, they said was mild,
except for killing the young.
She bags my things
quickly, as if that was enough.
Death by predator.
The invisible ghost of a virus.

There are four falcons that
have perched in the honey locust
tree, across my street.
The tree is a plume of golden glory!
Its leaves will fall in a day or two.
Winter is colorcast in the gray sky.
The beautiful lasts,
only as long as it can last.
Something for the cover
of a boy’s grave,
something for a mother’s hands
to hold.

Published inIndex of all Poems