Southern Illinois Spring

The pond I fish
holds an offering of sky within
the water. I cast into clouds —
draw them close on the
ripple of a wave.

Geese warble
silently past my boat as
they fly at the waterline.
In the depths fish lurk, hidden
by a thunderhead — their darkness
masked by the gray, moving
forms rolling, building above.

Water spiders dance upon the
mirror surface flecked with dust
of protozoa. A breeze kicks up.
I pull on the oars, slicing
through steely sky. I draw
to shore as the rain begins.

Millions of ripples intersect
each other, unbroken as they
expand, dividing the sky among
themselves until the choppy water
arises in petulant waves. Fish
surrender to the moment
of anarchy, thrashing, striking
wildly at the line I cast again
and again. The sky takes
back itself and returns


I’m not sure how many years ago I wrote this, but it’s in one of my chapbooks.


Wonders of the Web

A cache of 1940 photographs
taken of my county,
aerial photos.


my range, township, section,
and see the farm from above.

Woods have slowly encroached
on the fields since then.
A pasture ran from the barn
down to the creek in the grove,

crops and trees
now divide
the former bovine demesne.


on a dot in the yard
to the shock
of a boy waving,
looking up
at the airplane
high above.

I look down,
wave back,
waver between
for a moment forget
my absence then
his absence now.


A Spaniel in the Works

A pale rider
slim as erstwhile time
bathed in a broth of forgetting
shells Earth
from its vaporous hull
with puncturing hoof prints
across a firmament
spherically revised.

One straight line
back to its beginning
and all within
tumbles free

off the table,
onto marble floor.
A wet tongued slurp
then the clattering nails
of a shaggy dog.

This is weird, but at least I wrote something. To put a finer point on it, I think it sucks.

For dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night 106

32 feet per second per second

A slip from gray stone
and off the ledge
he plummets,
a resistible man
immovable sidewalk.

Strangers’ arms
not to catch him,
but to mark
the speck of him

grown larger, while
his thin screams
dodge in and out
of city traffic.

Tumbling blind,
severed from
all previous connection,

the man
never wishes to land,
but to fall past earth
and orbit
a safe distance
from grief.

For Dverse Poets Pub Open Link Night. Starts at 2 p.m. CST today.

Saint Nick

Santa slept on the stoop
waiting to be let in
because we don’t have a chimney.
He smelled strange,
Listerine or something.
Mom looked upset,
which is odd:
everyone is happy
to see Santa.
Maybe t’was because
he was a bit dizzy
and she was afraid
he might fall.
If I traveled
all over the world
in one night, I might
get woozy too.
When we asked him
for presents, he pointed
to the ones under the tree.
He said that was part
of the magic,
then handed me
an empty bottle.
He hugged me,
kissed the top of my head
and wandered out

Zen and Out

I enter
the space
between my thoughts
and walk around,
stroll for hours
in cool breeze,
hear the sound of gulls
calling in the distance,
a steady soft roll
of surf.

Moist sand
slips between my toes,
ocean rippling over them,
walking the verge
between land and sea.

The distant ring
of a telephone
then a disembodied voice,
tinny and flat,
totals my bank account,
job prospects,
social life,
an endless litany
of inadequacies.

Slipping in the water,
I swim to get away.
Far out to sea,
no land in sight,
yet the voice
still mutters.