the coffin

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his eyes are fixed upon me,
envisioning the scene inside –
the darkness. the cold stale air.
her eyes sewn shut.
the subdued voices muffled
by this polished oak frame.

the winter is severe outside,
and snow covers the ground.
most of the family sits close to me
yet he stands just outside
the blue makeshift covering.
the wind wildly blows its fingers
through his white hair, stings his face,
and whispers past his perfect
handlebar mustache. but those eyes.

maybe he sees himself in here,
unwilling to step into a shelter
away from the relentless wind.

Eldon, Missouri

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Clear cold nights remind me
of the Ozarks, of looking
through the leafless trees

standing like skeletons
who shield the silent stars.
Tonight the branches cradle

the moon in a ribcage,
and I wonder how this light
shines after so many years.

stone’s throw

a boy takes refuge
in the silent woods of winter,
trading the noise inside
for the soft crackle of leaves
that mark each step to the frozen
lake below. standing above
the icy water’s edge
he spends hours lofting stones
towards the sky, waiting
and watching each one,
like words, poke a perfect hole
through the ice and softly
sink into the startled stillness.


From Awaiting the Images
stone’s throw first appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Number 42, 2015