To a Friend Whose Operation Has Been Postponed

Open the rusty screen door Follow my voice through the center of the forest with no trees Float atop the escaping river like a weekday problem on a Saturday afternoon Watch the cardinals glide above this mess of a city, careless, self-absorbed, The drivers in their compact cars, too, accelerating behind you to dates and …

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Scrimshaw

I wanted to write you a poem about horseshoe crabs, how they are born on beaches, how they spend their lives sheltered, underwater, and only reemerge when they're old. They trudge across their grave, their chestnut lives etching wales into every grain of sand. Every beach is their archive, but I forget about your summer house—in Delaware of all places. …

Empty House

Her roses bloom whenever Oscar flips on the kitchen light. Sure, they’ve faded—what wouldn't after thirty-five years and grandkids?— but they’re still where Lois stenciled them, in perfect rows between the cabinet doors and on the mourning faces of every drawer.

What Matters

Lisa Burkhardt's anger surfaced on her skin just like her freckles—slapdash and intense. She bragged she inherited her Irish temper from her mother and I believed it. When Mrs. Burkhardt took walks around the neighborhood without her usual thick '80s makeup, I couldn't tell mother and daughter apart. And Lisa could rant for hours using only swear words and the …

A Caller at the Door

“Is your husband available, sweetheart?” “Father is in the cellar.” “Will you call him? It regards this fine house.” “I'm afraid the mortician has his ear." Her black hat tilts upward. "Perhaps you'd care to speak to the guarantor of his estate?”