With age my knee
now does tricks,
something my hands
could never learn.
Fumble, as I would,
with rolling a coin
between wooden fingers
or palming the ace,
visited. Today, though,
my right knee conjures
an act of misdirection
so perfect my body almost
doesn’t follow it.
Even the skeptics in the front row
would be wowed.
Miz Adrienne and Miz Bee
Last night (or, more precisely, early this morning,
just before waking)
I dreamed about a student I once taught,
one I had recently learned had died
several years back.
In the dream, I took from my wall
two photocopied pages,
captured against the drywall with a push pin,
telling how he’d died in the fiery hold
of a cargo ship. It was a terrible accident;
the photos were all black and white.
In truth, I don’t know how he died.
What did he leave undone?
I ask this, having passed half a century of life some years ago.
Having lived longer than friends, children I knew,
What did they leave undone?
This morning, I ask myself
What do I have to do today that I cannot do?
Weeding and planting new ferns?
I can do that.
Reseeding and watering a patch of lawn?
I can do that.
Some minor plumbing, walking down to the garden
and picking or digging, then cleaning the vegetables
I’ll cook for our dinner?
I can do all that.
Catching up on everything I have left undone?
When it rains during the summer here it seems a benediction, a blessing, like traveling with someone I’ve never met but seem to have known my whole life.
Riding With Curtis Mayfield
with your trembling horns,
guitar notes falling like a plank in my heart,
your clear-as-sky angel’s voice,
stop kicking holes in the floorboard.
Riding around with you,
in this old truck that don’t even have a radio.
What are you doing here, you?
(I bang the dusty dashboard
and slap my knuckles against
the crack in the windshield.
Listen, you: the drums
and bass slap and crack, too.)
You, there, you still telling
people to get ready?
You were ready,
(I’ll never be ready.)
I’m on this little island
and would be alone
in my old truck
on this little island
except for you there.
You, Curtis Mayfield.
Who needs a radio?
- Blow those horns