Rainy Evening

Every plant in the yard is green, dark
green, light green.
The black bark on the trees is wet, English Ivy
climbs. Purple flowers are scattered in the tiny
meadow where the yard slopes down. Brown leaves, wet and
unraked, ivy is sprouting up in spots.

Across the street, I see a bit of the yellow house the green.
In an open spot over the street
rain pours down. Cars drive by, lights shining on the wet
pavement. Rain overruns the clogged gutter,
splashing the brick walk.
The birds sing their goodnight songs.

Henry #2

When Henry was dying, the sky was blue,
sun shining on the lake across the road.
Anna and Winslow drove up to
take him to the city. To fly south and
find out what was wrong. We knew.
What he wanted was to
sit outside his garage, watching the lake.
Convinced that remaining, he would be a burden,
he went. Leaving Status Theory and lake.
He was surprised at my emotional hug.
Holding back tears, I watched
them drive away.


Eight cars squeezed into the driveway. The
kitchen full of daughters and granddaughters
cooking, talking, laughing.
Jim making biscuits.
Cousins passing around the baby.
She looks at them and goes back to sleep.
After lunch, they blow bubbles between
the cars in the cool green sunshine.

Head of Table

My father at head of table

I don’t remember how the argument
started. I just
remember how my uncle Louis exploded
with the anger he’d been
holding in for years. Ever since
my grandfather died and my father
took his place at the head of table.
As the oldest, my father thought of
himself as head of the family. But
he didn’t live in
that house. It was my uncle’s house. He
lived there. He paid the bills. He
bought the food and supported their
mother and sister and nephew. Everyday
he went to the clinic where he and his father
had practiced medicine. His name was on
the deed. Why wasn’t he sitting at head of
table? My father sort of laughed it off,
made some remark to
diffuse the situation, changed
his seat. I think. He
must have because after
that, my uncle sat at the head and
my father sat
elsewhere around the table. I do remember
that. That and
the anger.