A garter snake fatter around than most rests
like a lazy dinosaur
on the warm rocks alongside the front walk.
I’m surprised when my wife
asks me to catch him
and let him go in her flower garden.
“But he’s a snake,” I say.
“Yes,” she says,
“and I want him in my garden
to get rid of the moles and mice.” I smile.
“He will get rid of the moles and mice won’t he?”
I smile again, “Why of course, honey.”
Though I know he’s too small for that
I simply cannot resist the temptation
of putting a snake back
into the Garden at the request of a Woman.
Biophilia (Love of Nature)
In my wife’s garden darkening at dusk
bats flit soundlessly above azaleas and forsythias.
While in the shadows below
in the final moments of twilight
paper-thin pink morning glories glow.
I don’t know what plants are growing
in the shade down beneath the bird feeder
but they’re growing so I haven’t the heart
to clip them or pluck them out or cover them up
with peat moss or mulch.
Sitting out on the back deck watching
the sky with all its blue
tumbling down through the branches and leaves
of the trees reaching
all the way to the ground.
In the middle of the pinkest bush
a single wine-red rose reflects the sun
something Van Gogh or Monet
would’ve thought to paint especially
with a final spurt of color as a bluebird streaks by.
Can’t Find You
frantically, not at first but after
a while, I’m searching everywhere throughout
the large, sprawling, rambling house
we’re in for a celebration of something or other
dark and shadowy, stuffy, no windows, no sunlight
so many rooms and more corridors
narrow and up and down
people in masks, seriously? masks?
and they are sprawled everywhere
some sleeping or sitting or standing staring
leaning against walls and closet doors
talking silently, some in whispers
nonchalantly, no one noticing me
as I search for you
going through the rooms and corridors
looking everywhere then coming back around
doing it all over again
like checking the same pocket 100 times
for a missing key
so damn dark, strange masks
no one talking to me acknowledging me
as if I’m a ghost
where have you gone my love
my job is to protect you
has always been to protect you
I am lost and forlorn, feeling more and more
hopeless checking every corner
behind every curtain, every door
on every chair and staircase
in the kitchen and bathrooms, closets
perhaps you’ve left, but without me?
no, no, I’ll go round again and again
you have to be here somewhere
you have to be.
Kakoneirophobia (Fear of Nightmares)
Like in a horror movie he’s breathless
outside himself watching himself running
from the hairy black faceless one chasing him
through the rambling old house in Nanuet
with its attics, crawlspaces, cubbies and inky closets.
Suddenly fire bursts out in the far corner
of the back basement the flames leaping
and clawing at the air but there is no smoke only flames
as I quickly close the switch all the way
but the fire rages on waking me in a cold sweat.
In a subway tunnel the walls made of blue tiles.
Snakes are everywhere wriggling snakes
some crawl through holes in the tiles. My father
shows up comes walking towards me to save me
but he can’t avoid stepping on the snakes.
I’m standing at the foot
of my father’s grave when suddenly
the dirt at the head in front of the monument
begins to crumble and dissolve
into the darkness below inviting me in.
Our little dog breaks through the electric fence
runs away down the road. Damn! Find him
before one of the big wild dogs gets him! Too Late!
A big dog with our dead cat in its mouth is scrambling
up the hill across the street being chased by our little dog.