One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 9

Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. Finishing up loose ends.

If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!

These poems are all from Repairs, published 2017.

Two Chapters of Spring

The landscape workers
clean the yard for spring
clear away winter
however you like to look at it
edging the empty flower beds
slow and careful with their hoes
looking down at the earth

Last year’s tall grass
returning in green shoots
among the dried stalks
A fox lies in a hollow
face raised to the sun


Special Occasion

The bathrobe
a garment meant for nothing but comfort
you slide your hand into the big pocket
moving aside the ample supply of tissues
fingers grasping the paper-wrapped cough drop



You open the lid of the chest freezer
down here in the basement
Quite a nice array of complacent food
looks back at you knowing that
No one ever disturbs food in a freezer
once it’s gone in.
Well, you say, that ends today.
You grasp the first container.
Spaghetti, the label says.
One year ago.

You travel into the past
excavating it layer by layer.
Your hands become numb.
You reach into three years ago.
Is it safe to eat shepherd’s pie
made when you had
a whole different

You intended to do an inventory
not one of your entire life.


Anybody’s Guess

hello mystery
life is a fast cruise
with some hard rules
down a river
that’s always got a bend
the next tie-up spot
out of sight
no matter where you start
while from
every report you get
conditions downstream
there is no smooth ride
the word comes through a radio
full of static. Like we
have not
heard all of it


Blank Looks

Let’s never know
Let’s not find out
Let’s don’t go combing through it
this time
It talks
so fast and the attitude
just outrageous
the attitude
always with some lip
to score points
let’s just
not know.



You took it in
You swallowed it
like a ham sandwich
with ultra-hot mustard
sending you running for
a big glass of water
that you gulp down fast and
then you choke on.
Everything looks fine at first
but then
it gets you. Does it ever!
Anyway, it’s all right
Nobody’s laughing
any more. You know
every show
somebody’s always got to be
the audience.
That was you. Wasn’t it?

Maybe you’re too good at it.


From Away

Conversation stops.
I have been noticed.
The body language
a reserved welcome
a waiting to see.
I walk across the green carpet.
They lean inward
drawing together
One old fellow
bent almost sideways
less restrained than the rest
Who is she?
Who is she?


For Ever So Long

We grew up together
never left
always been together
our roots sunk in the same earth
for us to share
as we needed.
Now you see us
leaning into each other
arms linked as we go along
older on the way to old
looking away
from any future
where we might not be together


I Won’t Be Overlooked

Started off standing straight
like everyone does
pushed off balance
some parts damaged and
others removed
without my permission
in a hurry.
Came to being bent down
Acute-angled to almost fallen over
Redirected and
reached for the standing straight
Come over, say hello.
I’m not much to look at
you are
looking at me
aren’t you? Yes, you are.


A Good Day’s Work

The coffee was strong
the paper cup no match for it
Soaked itself through at the seam
Marked the document
on the signature page
blurring the ink into rivulets
necessitating a redo of all the paperwork
staining the white shirt
of the man who picked up the cup
of too-strong


Not in the Brochure

The kitchen a remodeled marvel
current styles of flooring and countertops
new cabinets.
A basement shelving system installed
professionally designed
fully adjustable.
All walls painted in a pale gray-tan
ceilings and trim a warm white
nail pops filled.
A pot of pansies placed on the porch
bushes trimmed
mulch arranged
front door painted

No one could do anything
about the high-tension wires
the noise from the highway
the lack of pleasant neighbors.
at the light fixture in the front hall
will you? It’s custom-made.



Her gray suit
a little tight in the skirt
Black leather high heels
scuffed at the back
No one notes these details
She’s moving faster
than they can be taken in
The hem of her jacket
held up with tape
Her lipstick melting in her purse
She shouts at the bus
as it passes her
even though
it’s not the one she wants
She is not a person to notice
daffodils blooming in the rain.


5 thoughts on “One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 9

    • Thank you. Something symbolic about putting things away and then later trying to go back through them. Harder than you think it will be and raises questions you had not figured upon answering!

  1. They are all excellent poems but my favourite, because it’s the one that tickled me the most, was “Inventory”. I have never owned a chest freezer precisely because my memories of the ones owned by family members was precisely as you describe. I love the idea you create of excavating and studying the layers of history, like a paleontologist.

    • Thank you. I have a chest freezer and I love it. Having dinner ready just a microwave moments away is a luxury in my book. But, unlike almost everyone else, I am great about keeping up with the items in the freezer (if I may brag a bit) and nothing gets very old before it is eaten. However, not many people are like me and enjoy this kind of control over their frozen food! So this poem comes from more than just my own experience all right.

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