Some days the words are slow to form,
and my mind is as empty as the lines
on the waiting pages. Hours pass
before I notice the soft tapping of sleet
against the window, reminding me
of the time I ran across the sidewalk
at grandma’s house, and my foot slipped
on the ice. I hovered parallel to the ground
before crashing hard upon my back.
For a moment I could not catch my breath,
and I blinked in wonder when the stars
watched me gasp for the freezing air.


Embed from Getty Images

I began my morning walk
not knowing when I’d return.
I had time, or rather,
time had me by the hand
and led me somewhere
I had not been. A field
with wild grass stretched
to every horizon except
for one tree whose leaves
were the colors of dusk.
I stayed a while past lunch,
my pockets full of things
I thought I had lost.


My burdens are invisible,
internal struggles, depression
whose weight grows each year.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Not like this fading tide recedes
into the deep with wreckage spinning
underneath the constant waves.



* * *

I’m doing better now than I was when I wrote this poem. If you are dealing (or have dealt) with depression, there can come a day when the waves are calmer and the storm subsides.



i remember the scent of honeysuckle
as you drove us through the countryside,
our bloodshot eyes still stinging
from our all-night charade in the city.
you said – I don’t want to do that again.
Ever. – and then you said nothing more.

i don’t remember when you fell asleep,
only the car lights blinding my eyes,
the grass wet with mist and blood,
and the smell of smoke. i couldn’t see
you pinned beneath the car, glass
scattered on the ground like shattered
bits of loss, irreparable, irreplaceable.


* “you” first appeared in Panoply, Issue 7, Summer 2017.

The Gods are Dying

The first paragraph here is worth reading over and over. Haunting.

– From Listening to your life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner

THE GODS ARE DYING. The gods of this world are sick unto death. If someone does not believe this, the next time he happens to wake up in the great silence of the night or of the day, just listen. And after a while, at the heart of the silence, he will hear the sound that gives it away: the soft, crazy thud of the feet of the gods as they stagger across the earth; the huge white hands fluttering like moths; the little moans of bewilderment and anguish. And we all shudder at the sound because to witness the death of gods is a fearsome thing.

Which gods? The gods that we worship. The gods that our enemies worship. Their sacred names? There is Science, for one: he who was to redeem the world from poverty and disease, on whose mighty shoulders mankind was to be borne onward and upward toward the high stars. There is Communism, that holy one so terrible in his predilection for blood sacrifice but so magnificent in his promise of the messianic age: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Or Democracy, that gentler god with his gospel of freedom for all peoples, including those people who after centuries of exploitation and neglect at the hands of the older democracies can be set free now only to flounder in danger of falling prey to new exploiters. And we must not leave out from this role of the dying what often passes for the god of the church: the god who sanctifies our foreign policy and our business methods, our political views and our racial prejudices. The god who, bless him, asks so little and promises so much: peace of mind, the end of our inferiority complexes. Go to church and feel better. The family that prays together stays together. Not everybody can afford a psychiatrist or two weeks of solid rest in the country, but anybody can afford this god. He comes cheap.

These are the gods in whom the world has puts its ultimate trust. Some of them are our particular gods, and there are plenty of others, each can name for himself. And where are they now? They are dying, dying, and their twilight thickens into night. Where is the security that they promised? Where is the peace? The terrible truth is that the gods of this world are no more worthy of our ultimate trust than are the men who created them. Conditional trust, not ultimate trust.