all the maples finally shed
their brittle ears
ready for muting snows
a storm’s falling white eyeblinks
raise fears of
a sudden snap

being left out by the world
being sent to wait in the hall
hearing only reflections
of what’s going on
or worse
nothing at all
no breath rhythm to count time
no body noise
but somehow still being able to see
to want

I worry what we’re doing to our sons


twenty-two below
eyelashes freeze together
college students wear snowpants
blankets or cardboard cover radiators
frost on my dashboard
tiny knives in the wind
my son has a note:
“It is very cold today
so Owen waits inside.”
my student says
“Man, it’s cold today!”
but no jacket
too cold for worry


another gray day
snow banks oozing onto sidewalks
great icicles growing
and shrinking on the same day
snow and sky the same color
lines of salt-rashed cars worry
themselves at intersections
while my choices are just the
footsteps on the damp concrete


I cannot generate quiet
any more than I can chew
my teeth
later I lie
on the floor and stare
at the landscape
in the ceiling tiles
and spook myself
thinking about the curious nature
of before I die wishes
until the terror of it
makes me focus
on the simple correspondences
my sons are in the present

A portion of this poem originally appeared in The Battered Suitcase: