By: Sam Barbee
/ trespass /
lamp post beside my happy gate / its hinge-pin creaks /
holly bush’s red berries / lush lawn, swept sidewalk.
oak tree silhouette blackens neighbor’s yard /
a bough-stamp of roots / like fingers’ dark-gnarl.
leafless blind-current / implants my picket fence /
webs over to My House of Ideal Color.
blur of crotches / vacant nests of crow and cardinal /
squirrels clutter / disciples of calamity.
wind-wrung branches dangle / mesh of snapped necks /
wrong-season for growth: buds or leaves or acorns.
clear-thinking gods must decipher this intrusion /
no darkening clouds / this betrayal must be defeated.
me, a frantic beast / thorn in flesh / suffer as it stings deeper /
I hate neighbors / I love nature.
Hand Fills Glove
Fold or hold; scold or knead.
Mr. Fix-it’s clumsy: cannot screw the bulb.
Durability of leather. Yank out weeds.
Safe from splinters. Rubber fist or latex caress.
Finger by finger, pinky-to-thumb thrust.
Palm to palm, clapping with the rest.
Gloves save me as I clutch a greasy wrench, a peach,
stroke a dead finch – mate flapping in a circle above.
Into pairs, between tasks, count off blessings –
pray away panic. Hide the wavering flesh.
Your perfect fit. Snug like sanctuary.
I tap my temple: what happened to our melody?
Index finger: astonished finger-point seeing
your shadow flee across grass, past granite curb.
Nothing protects from cruelty. Witness, and wave
a final time; farewell’s flutter against piercing wind.
Diary of Demise
It all happens at once.
Rearview-sky begins to matter. Nonlinear vista
the way we left it. Sucker punch gels my frontal lobe.
Primary as light to dark. Sand tumbles.
Shiny silicates cling. Tides ebb. Solemn deliverance,
once-upon-a-time realized as noteworthy, abandons.
Slapstick solutions falter. Gleaming façade to black.
Exhale to slouch in rude angles. Convenience
becomes climate change. Pulse, like the failure
of gravity, allows free-flying doubt. Half-life
balanced on scraps of circumstance. Switch-back
to half-truth, to false-joy: caress, then corrupt.
Palms grasp my bloodied lifeline. I try to mash slices
back into a whole. Never reclaimed, even after-life
when prayers cannot regain their edge against debate.
Holy plots with those who remain behind. Midnight
disrobes to reveal the by-products of sweat.
Erosion of the initial edifice and a lull to new rhythm.
Brutal and broken elegies. Evasion serves up its own
horror. I am left to ponder my shortchanged legacy.
Then . . . a winter bird warbles.
A Christmas tree’s tin star soothes. Wet sidewalks
splash wisdoms. A good world swells. Each flower
dances under yellow sun, spirals atop the snarl,
but their hues will wither and petals will sail.
My ring’s agate clanks the cup, and ale warms
to midwinter’s murmur. Time to go.
Thinnest soil will prove enough to seize me.
The way we must leave it.
As if it never happened.