17 November 2014
If I forgo wanting to be out in five minutes, the market never
fails to amuse. I queue in the express lane, which instantly
broadcasts a call for customer assistance. The register girl and
her customer sound like they've been hitting the helium. Funny.
Young mother lopes in from the rain, twisting her feet at each
step so her sneakers squeak, smiling over her shoulder at her
tag-along toddler. They laugh. I do too.
05 November 2014
No longer veiled, the woods have shed modesty and their gaudy
leaves in a Halloween nor'easter, exposed trunks and limbs glassy
black in the cold rain: dendritic dishabille. Freed from
paralyzing cold by an unseasonable shirtsleeves day, the last
katydid stridulates in a slow-motion croak. Then chaste oaks'
muted brown lingerie; an occasional snow flurry. And a few
dandelions hug the ground, promising another year.
26 September 2014
The city concrete curates an unremitting din: traffic,
helicopters, horns, sirens, waspish mopeds, perpetual overload, no
escape. At the plaza I strain yet fail to hear a sibilant bicycle
tire and clicks of the ratcheting freewheel—drowned out. On
the other hand, the canyons channel a changing wind. I absorb
olfactory calories from pizza, tandoori, and Zagat-rated Thai one
minute, ocean salt and low tide the next.
Waiting for Uncle Edward
02 July 2014
I’m tracking Ed on the Internet: left San Diego, arrived
Providence, arrived Attleboro. USPS Priority Mail Express 1-Day,
airfare $92.85, insured for $100. Last time home, he carried
loosely wrapped tiramisu wedged between the shirts in his
carry-on. This time, he won’t be bringing dessert.
I’ll be here to sign for his ashes.
13 June 2014
Beard, thin, black umbrella. Passes bench, sits on platform. Eye
contact. Mistake. “It starts to rain, I open the umbrella,
I’m OK. Stops raining, I close it, and I’m
good.” More: found abandoned, plastic ribs for good eversion
recovery, sketchy runner jams, hangs it from a carabiner to dry.
Didactic Gump leaves me in peace only when he boards the train.
Haven’t met his ex-wife, but I have a theory about the
20 May 2014
They are flowering even as I write—I know the horse chestnut
trees of six Bristol County towns. Fifteen years ago I planted one
out back for my infant grandchildren's as yet unborn offspring;
the tree only now begins to outstrip their height. I have passed
the lore to a worthy successor, strong in the buckeye Force. The
conker gods tell me they are well pleased with my offerings. I am
content to await the apocalypse.
What They Heard
15 April 2014
A distant large-bore motorcycle does a slow glissando toward its
red line. Some soul damns itself to perdition practicing on drums.
A plaintive killdeer patrols the edges of the paved acres. But
mostly it’s the wind. An unlatched plexiglass showcase door
slams alternately open and shut. Gust-driven sand hisses off
parked cars. Discarded plastic rolls, skids, tumbles across the
asphalt. Scraping. Horseless clip-clops.
How They Walked
13 April 2014
A guy with four days’ white stubble and gimpy leg soldiers
on with his asymmetric rolling gait toward the train. A grey
stooped woman trudges out of the funeral home, easing her fragile
bubble of resigned inwardness through a universe suddenly sharp
and viscous. A tall twenty-something woman carries poise,
confidence, and under her arm a hula hoop. We agree that this
amuses the cosmos and exchange smiles as we pass.