Poem Published at Poetry Breakfast

Have a look around at Poetry Breakfast and see my poem “When We See Stars.”

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Brown

Listening to the music of the body
and the music of stars,

momentarily transfixed
by a starfish-blotch of cream in coffee

shaped like a neuron cell body
or a supernova, either way

floating on a brown lake sunk in a deep white well
stained by thin brown rings,

concentric thoughts in a season of fire
just beyond the flickering of my eye

like a novel that hinges
in small part on the dubious proposition

that a man could kill himself by simply
holding his breath.

A Poem for Tracy K. Smith

  What does the storm set free?
        Spirits stripped of flesh on their slow walk.
— “The Speed of Belief,” from Life on Mars, by Tracy K. Smith

So we both lost our fathers,
your Floyd William Smith, 1935-2008
and my Richard Alan Sharp, 1936-2007,
both engineers, yours worked on the Hubble
and mine on the fuel cell for Gemini in the 60s.
You think of the soul wandering, a man
without country, spinning,  perhaps to touch
down on Earth again, through you,
while I imagine the soul, or something
like one, fueling a distant star cluster
with a power that could only be love.
And so I am left to look at you, wide-eyed
with hair exploding like a supernova,
and believe I see him there, too,
in your smile, seeing through your eyes,
your father who looked to the stars,
toward my father, burning in the night.

Tell Me What You See, Mistress Moon

Mistress Moon, I feel your million-mile stare
over my shoulder as I cross the black plain
of night, but my weak Earth-bound eyes only
see the dumb grin on your pock-marked face.

You are the shape and heft of light and its absence.
In your wax and wane we know death and birth
and the mighty tug of sea-tide and womb-blood.
Tell me what you see in your blue-white sight.

Mice scurrying across the wind-spun snow,
the red-eyed wolf, the faint glow of my heart,
more ash than ember? Can you penetrate
the caul of deceit that smothers me, beneath

to the field of tiny stars tattooed across my chest?
Have you missed your mother these four billion
years, or did you long ago turn your best side
away from her, toward the cold fires of eternity?