1. Star and Candle

1.
Passed by the final ray
of a burnt-out star,
we become afterlight.

2.
Beside a waxy puddle
we are crumbled ash,
offering a curl of smoke.

3.
Sanctity and sacrifice
teach us
to persist.

2. The Economics of Time and Need

I wanted love that would last
until February.
But it was only March.

The longer I waited,
the more I hungered
for such a gift,

which became less dear
as time passed,
because I needed less of it.

Hunkered down
at the end of this endless year,
I wait still.

3. Cover Your Eyes

And listen to the wind.
Not its complaints unsettling leaves,
but its stillness—

an apology
murmuring through pin oaks,
the moment it subsides.

4. Clearing Ivy

Its roots felt their way across my skin
looking for soft spots,
probably digging in wherever
it was easiest. Who’s to say?

With unforgiving tedium,
it crept
and wound
and clutched
dislodging mortar in a retaining wall
and bending a trunk under its weight.

Inevitability has no need to rush.

Miles of twisting gnarled vine
grip until
barehanded and bloody-knuckled
you rip and scrape away at the aftermath
revealing little claw marks
etched into its path.

5. Surely

He bent to her whisper,
his posture a devotional.

6. Tempo

Where

love

beats

slow

with

dull

and

thud

of

heart-

ache,

let

grace

cascade

tumbling glistening abundance

over dry rocks

sprout

greenly in crag and furrow,

seeding abandoned meadows

with flowers

orbit—

slowly and majestically—

radiating love and joy

upon your face.

7. Elegy for 107696

Not memorials. Not reliquaries.
Just two test tubes and a jar
holding your bone, hair, and skin

relegated to storage these 70 years—
a cross-referenced testament
to Hirt’s cruel anthropology.

Oh purest spirit,
without apology, God himself
knelt in honor or grief
and lifted you upon his wings

your unyielding remnants
hovering among spirits
of distilled alcohol
until their final return.