Read and Consider


Eric Claption: Wonderful Tonight

Gust from the West


First Storm and Thereafter


What I notice first within
          this rough scene fixed
in memory is the rare
          quality of its lightning, as if
those bolts were clipped
          from a comic book, pasted
on low cloud, or fashioned
          with cardboard, daubed
with gilt then hung overhead
          on wire and fine hooks.
What I hear most clearly
          within that thunder now
is its grief—a moan, a long
          lament echoing, an ache.
And the rain? Raucous enough,
          pounding, but oddly
musical, and, well,
          eager to entertain, solicitous.
No storm since has been framed
          with such matter-of-fact
artifice, nor to such comic
          effect. No, the thousand-plus
storms since then have turned
          increasingly artless,
arbitrary, bearing—every
          one of them—a numbing burst.
And today, from the west a gust
          and a filling pressure
pulsing in the throat—offering
          little or nothing to make light of.

Source: Poetry (April 2011).



Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Sleeping Well


I looked a dying woman in the eye

The curtains were drawn to block the bright light of day
A monitor drew lines toward numbers evaluating their arc
Daughters and husband sat, present yet absent, in far away corners
Stealing glances toward the thin, frail figure in the hospital bed

She stirred
Using her last ounces of strength
To find a position that would end her pain

Finding her hand through the cotton coverlet
I grasped it lightly and called her name
The name of a bird
The same bird who
At that moment
Just outside
With bright red breast
Was singing the arrival of new life

In her face I saw a hunger
Though the gnawing within was not for food
Her body
Shedding it’s ties to life
Had no desire to be sustained

Her eyes cried out
It’s me
I’m in here
Please don’t go away