Grade A: Weekend Work

Written in Albuquerque, living with Sari on Tijeras NE, sometime in spring 2014 (I quit keeping track of month-of-composition a few years ago).  Before I was diagnosed hyperthyroid, my daily supplements for hypothyroidism kept being reduced, which increased my fatigue.  “The park” is Spruce Park, the locale of further poems written on later walks.  Karen is Karen Davis, my girlfriend in 1975-76.  Actually her mother told me about Karen’s bad reaction to our breakup in person, not on the phone, when she came at Karen’s request to return photos, love letters and such.  Published in Small Amounts of Blood.

Weekend Work


The thin heat cupping my scalp through the blinds this morning was kindly,

not yet brave or starving enough to trample the city.

Revisited by guilt and bereavement I know are just my lower thyroid dosage,

I enter the park where a black blanket folds over a tree groin.

A girl stands behind a sitting boy and braids his shoulderlength hair

and an elm, precariously tall, has a ripped main limb

serrating the sight-grimed sky.

A sturdy wind starts pumping the leaves.

Here colors could be alone, but want to be on things—

the odd-picked brown and green of the playset

rooted in sunny sawdust.

Today’s guilt was about Karen, whom I actually don’t think I treated poorly:

she found me wrong.  She gravely willed me away.

Then lay in her room and wept for a month,

her mom breathed to me on the phone.

I think she’d been hoping

she’d ended it too soon for love to take,

like a poison.

Whatever I made die in her,

may it be nothing she needed, the forty years since.

A yellowjacket’s notice whips me up off the bench.

Lawns need mowing

from a halfhour of rain the other day.

The homeward hill is so paused,

the highway a mile off is the loudest sound.

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