Maybe you’ve lost
with your country
with a loved one
Maybe you’ve lost
at your species
at friends at strangers
or especially at yourself.
Maybe you’ve become too tightly wound
don’t have Zen spirit
at least not when it counts.
Maybe you’re constipated
or were raised Catholic
took it seriously … way too seriously
loved it loved it loved it all
until it all
fell like a ton of Baltimore catechisms
from a tower of incense-scented hocus-pocus gibber jabber.
Maybe you’ve been traumatized over seventy years
by all you’ve suffered
& all the suffering you’ve inflicted on others
you could or would.
Maybe you should take a breather
— a deep clean cleansing breath
give yourself a break ... before you break
down ... or in half ... or in pieces.
Unwind. Judge not. Do compassion
especially when compassion appears undoable.
Appearances can be deceiving
— so you’ve been told.
When Dying Deer Appear
Sweltering summer when dying deer
appear as if posed frozen in seedy
weedy gopher-holed drought-ravaged backyard
yet still somehow evoking visions
of beauty & beastly dignity
their wild eyes haunting
they might’ve tensed sensed being
watched by aging baby boomer couple’s
tame eyes squinting
from kitchen window
at ribs poking through taut flesh
like samurai swords under dirty dun-colored linen
bodies transcending art
descending delicately into decay
yet spirits vigilant patient no illusions nor delusions
unlike human couple together appearing
safe secure thriving while conniving
desiring dreams apart.
Rosters of rodents bide their time
from within crawlspace
above & in-between
long-married couple’s wine country bungalow bedrooms.
Rosters of rodents disappear reappear disappear again
for weeks or months or years it seemed.
But rodents reappear this time no doubt
finally having come to stay to live & die
holding hell-raising all-night Irish wakes
& making Olympic-like mad dashes down
afraid-to-leave afraid-to-stay couple’s frayed
closeted clothing hanging like executed prisoners
in separate bedrooms bedrooms separated
by sickly sweet death-scented crawlspace.