i’ve always enjoyed her sense of humor :: gerald locklin

She’s an old friend
And I don’t see her very often,
But she has a way of turning up
When I’m talking to a girl I’ve just met,

And she will invariably storm up to us
And confront me with, “where is the child support check?!”

Then turn on her heel and storm from the room,
Leaving me to make inadequate explanations.

invitation to a ghost :: donald justice

I ask you to come back now as you were in youth,
Confident, eager, and the silver brushed from your temples.
Let it be as though a man could go backwards through death,
Erasing the years that did not much count,
Or that added up perhaps to no more than a single brilliant forenoon.

Sit with us. Let it be as it was in those days
When alcohol brought our tongues the first sweet foretaste of oblivion
And what should we speak of but verse? For who would speak of
      such things now but among friends?
(A bad line, an atrocious line, could make you wince: we have all
      seen it.)

I see you turn again toward the cold and battering sea.
Gull shadows darken the skylight; a wind keens among the chimney
Your hand trembles a little.
                                                What year was that?

Correct me if I remember it badly,
But was there not a dream, sweet but also terrible,
In which Eurydice, strangely, preceded you?
And you followed, knowing exactly what to expect, and of course she
      did turn.

Come back now and help me with these verses.
Whisper to me some beautiful secret that you remember from life.

do not go gentle into that good night :: dylan thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

looking at the sea :: pamela kircher

      Stiff tone of death
      in every wave
      what more can wave have
      save perhaps a little love

            Marsden Hartley

Not in anger does the sea
fold to the source of its gray waves
the tired boy; not in hatred
does it choke him.

Before and afterwards a weight
breaks each wave, but not remorse

nor does forgiveness move the tides
to coax the shriveled kelp and barnacles,
the stinking whelks to trust
the sea’s embrace again.

We who travel with our feelings
can’t believe the sea responds mechanically
to the earth’s rotation or the moon
giving up another sliver every night.

White edging on the waves leads the eye
from horizon into shore, from rocks
to a plume of spray dissolving into blue

convincing evidence
that prior to this breath
we were protected;

just yesterday
seagulls sang like doves.

good night :: wilhelm müller

I came as a stranger; as a stranger now I leave. The flowers of May once
welcomed me warmly; a young girl spoke of love, her mother even of marriage.
Now all is bleak–the pathway covered with snow.
The time of departure is not mine to choose; I must find my way alone in
this darkness. With the shadow of the moon at my side, I search for traces of
wildlife in the white snow.
Why should I linger and give them reason to send me away? Let stray hounds
howl outside their master’s house. Love likes to wander from one to another,
as if God willed it so. My darling, farewell.
A quiet step, a careful shutting of the door so your sleep is not disturbed,
and two words written on the gate as I leave, “Good night,” to let you know I
thought of you.

the nose on your face :: susan browne

In all your life, you will never see your actual face.
If you close one eye, you can gaze
at the side of your nose, but that’s it.
Is that why when looking at group photographs,
it’s yourself you stare at the longest?
Sometimes you’re mistaken for someone else,
And you want to meet her, see for yourself yourself,
but even if you met a gang of doppelgangers,
you will continue searching in hubcaps, sauce pans,
toasters, the backs of spoons, the bases of lamps,
in sunglasses, in another person’s eyes,
and if that person is standing in just the right light,
there you are, trying to get closer.

Courtesy The Writer’s Almanac