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Radar rhymes

On the couch flanked by my two dogs, watching tv, my cell phone buzzes emergency tornado disaster warning. Brow-knitted weather-folks circle radar maps, paint-boxes of angry colors splash across screen, pop like pinball machines on ritalin. In midst of language of meteorology, I hear velocity couplet, full stop poetry? Heavy rain, thunder, lightning bolt blows transformer, pyrotechnics illuminate, our house goes dark. I search for flashlight, pen, paper— yes, a tornadic sonnet!


Autumn on the cusp, crickets mute fiddling, birds&squirrels scrap  for crumbs, weeds wild, unplucked, foliage paused awaiting briskness, temperature gauge falls, moon one shade bluer. Losses, endings I cannot fix. In my dreams, their voices-- drag,   shift,  frighten,  free.

Dedicated to my friend

            After  Catullus' poem, Ave atque vale,   written upon the death of his brother My dear friend is dead, h er shell abandoned. I speak to her ashes, to her vibrant spirit. She struggled against paralyzing disease,  carried  raw pain on her narrow shoulders, worn thin. Her  flame passes   into wisps of smoke. Absent faith to anchor me, habit tilts my face skyward, I whisper  peace. Of this, I am certain, the world is less without her.

By the side

It began as a spat, sparked into an argument, ignited-- we raged against each other, hurling lightning bolts, crackling through opaque india-ink, jagged shards piercing, moon and stars languishing before our pyrotechnics, our rumbling thunder drowning night-songs. We broke each other and walked away, discarded by the side of the road, as cars swerve and flatten.

Dedicated to Yola Mascia Melchiorre, 1913-1995

A pianist, an artist, a linguist, a professor, so many talents,  like her younger brothers, but she lacked the XY chromosome, when few women worked outside of home, few women envisioned another path, few women stepped away. Her father treated her differently, replied to her differently, “you don’t really want to”,  his catch-all phrase, repeated till she believed it, too, believed she couldn't, shouldn't. She pushed aside her ambitions, molded herself into a new, narrow shape, that of wife and mother, she made those roles her whole life. There was nothing left of the other woman, unable to even imagine what might have been.

Visuals in the night without corrective lenses

I startle into awake, the room dark, yet in the shadows three figures gather by my bed, three figures unmoving, unspeaking, hands together, hands uplifted, in prayer, in blessing, in admonishment? Fog heavy in my head, fear looms, patience thins, I reach toward the nearest light. A floor lamp with its wide shade, one of the trio, a momentary comfort, but what of the other two? Angels, aliens, two Weird Sisters with a Macbethian prediction? Cocooned into sleep, caught by a vague whisper of a tangible somewhere within.