Still in the Orchestra

There’s not much left of the song
but I tilt my head and listen
greedy for what’s left
the last notes slip by like the final drops
in an upturned glass.

Poetry, always looking backward
has been my music
but emotion recalled in tranquility
is a past happiness
like a warm breeze it
leaves little trace.

There was faith,
the dull stubborn kind; mostly
a rejection of each day’s truth
along the way I lost that song
but nothing has really changed
since I mislaid it.

I’m still trying to hear
the liquid lilt of the inaudible
still paging through old scores
to avoid the danger of imagining
some new arrangement.

But there’s so much music waiting
and so little time.

Free as a Bird

Sunset in San Miguel
a blind hummingbird vibrates urgently
against the rough plaster of my bedroom wall
the courtyard window and freedom
unseen below.



Grandmother cared for my mother
and for my mother’s cousins, who were orphaned
and my mother took care of me
a nanny took care of my children
whose children now have, not children
but dogs
and doggy day care takes care of them.

Each generation has invested less
in that which follows. It makes sense
I guess.

Our attachment’s usually not the same
for dogs as it is for children.
with dogs there’s no hurt, no suffering
no struggle to love in spite of your brokenness
and that of the broken thing you struggle to love.

We’re not stuck for a lifetime
with that first dog; there will be others.
some more benefits—
no college tuition, no screaming matches,
no unanswered calls, no forgotten birthdays
so, why take the risk?

Wonder where this is going?
if we love our pets enough
will they eventually become the perfect children
we never, really, could have had?