1. The Gaining of Wisdom

Stuffing one last bit
of moist green leaf into his bulging maw,
caterpillar felt something new—
he was full.

His fearsome, snake-eyed skin
stretched
and split,
as he spit a filament-wide hammock
that solidified in midair.
More goo buttoned him to a twig
among lacy chronicles
of nonstop feasting.

Muscular, peristaltic wriggling
rid him of his last rag of beauty,
which fell away
revealing the luminous, ringed sarcophagus
that lay within him.

Immobile and shielded,
he would never eat again
or crawl,
or spin.

2. Traversing Great Distances

First there’s distance between the inside of me and the outside of me. The distance between us. And the distance between the outside of you and the inside of you. Spaces widened by a plane crash in the Sinai; the primaries (I should have voted); balancing the checkbook (Claudia takes care of that); microcurrents of air rising, falling, drifting; a stale scent like burnt cookies scraped clean, but still ruined. Somehow we find crumbs of empathy. But first there’s the distance between the inside of me and the outside of me.

3. Meanders

bend

to their arc and curve.

Dawdle erode

trick-

le and shift

within each turn

of their tortuous

banks.

4. View from Four Windows

1.
The red maples are on fire
but yours always flamed first, flamed brightest
. . crackling . . .
and months later snapping in two
for what seems no reason at all.

2.
Venus is a tear
dripping off the corner of the moon
long after morning has begun.

3.
We braced its inherent weakness
but the pear tree
left us no choice
so we took it down
leaving a gaping open space
in the front nook of the house.

4.
I imagine a giraffe
stretch for leaves
unfurling at the tops of trees
before they turn bitter.

5. Pale Blossoms After Thanksgiving

Just a dozen or so
push disruption

through a few
frail twigs,

a simple protest
that will surely be humbled.

6. Orange

Was it the burst of oil
atomized upon the air,
sharing segments
of cool sweet flesh,
or the single ribbon
of thick, pithy duplex skin
unraveled like a strand of DNA
that connected us
across the kitchen table?

7. Paean at High Tide

Praise God, sun and moon.
Psalms 148:3

Emanating somewhere
from its vacuum of silence,
the moon sang
lustrous verses to the universe,
coaxing ragged spittle
into foam tufts of salty meringue
that danced in her light.