BURIAL

Tis a gift to be humble
in a white clapboard
kind of way
at the funeral of a father
of a friend.
Where the altar gets a lemon licking
and the rat poison will kill you
conveniently
in a state of grace.
Still, there is comfort
in the Congregationalist dust
on the iron radiators
the armrests rubbed
dry
to the bone
and the dogeared hymnals.
All men deserve
a burial
where the pews reek of faith
paraffin wax
March apples
and sorrow.

MARKET BASKET

There.
So.

Says the man
bagging broccoli
at Market Basket.

A Sicilian comma,
a Catholic callus,
a cautious bow.

See how he cradles
the eggs
in a nest of crushed receipts.

As if one shell
might hold
the resurrection.

Or the promise
of grace.

OVER

It went over
in the great snow.
The winter that
killed New England’s
will to live.
Four feet wide
and a hundred up
slammed sideways
down the hill.
Branches crushed
bark ripped raw
insect carrion.

I pass its base
on my daily walk
past the old stone wall.
Roots clenched
tight round a boulder
as if to say:
I will take you with me
when I go.

SKATING BY

The boy was caught
in the middle of
air.

Legs splattered,
arms lobbed,
the single finger
pointed to
God
(or whatever).

He cannoned
sideways
from an ash,
trusted that the
sky
would hold him.

As it did.

The board,
and fear,
came later.

LOVE CAME IN

I shut myself up with the dust
that fell in shadowed showers
in empty rooms.

The door swung to
on cold wrung hinges
and chipped the framing paint.

I resigned myself,
to mold
and droppings of mice,
and gaps that grew in floorboards.

I even damped the chimney.

But,
when I wasn’t looking,
Love came in through the window.