I Cried Today at Staples

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They asked me what kind of file folders

I would like. I eyed that wall,

boxes of files stacked like bricks

propping up crumbling dreams,

and I couldn’t stop them,

hot tears welling up unbidden,

indecision and nostalgia and sorrow

in liquid form. And I knew

it wasn’t the file folders –

not really. It was more

that after the check-out counter,

after smiling and making small-talk

with a smiling employee about

the weather and the Riders game,

after fighting traffic

and stopping for an iced frappé

on the way, I would carry the bags

and drop them off

with my son

at their new home,

leave them deposited there,

file folders marked ‘Memories’,

‘Fears’, ‘Regrets’; even the expanding

style can’t hold ‘Dreams I’ve Dreamed

for my Son Since He Was Born’,

or ‘Have I Given Him Enough

to Make Him a Man?’ So I stood

in aisle 4 and let the tears drip

until the labels swam, inked

puddles to be filed later.

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Unbidden Fog

pines in the fog

Tears spring up,

unbidden fog

to paint puddles into the equation.

She dashes them away,

angry that they would fall

into her pea soup.

Burned Bridges

cosmos brittle

She smiles – but, life having burned the bridge of her nose,

it no longer has a means to travel from her lips to her eyes.

“I hate him,” she says,

in the same tone she used to order her decaf latte,

taking a sip

and trying not to spill

on the perfectly white tablecloth.

Here Lies the Doubly Dead

Here lies the doubly dead;

O, how the mighty are fallen!

Rootless,

branchless,

drowned for good measure,

Rasputin’s fellow,

a liturgy to terror.

Shaved from the Tree of Life

with bested blade,

your clutch at green

becomes a sickly parody,

a humorless and desperate joke.

Denial let you cling to life-support

while the summer sun poured down,

but here you lie,

destined to wear

the bottom of a boot.

Even Sunflowers

Even sunflowers have bad days,

When tears from petals leak;

Even sunshine hides her face

When clouds make brilliance bleak.

Even waves hang back in shame

When tidal forces woo;

So let emotion wash you clean

When life makes living blue.

Don’t Hide Your Tears

Don’t hide your tears, my child –

I give you permission to let them fall.

When life withholds its gavel,

when your Piper requires you to pay

a price set in the stars,

let them fall.

Mourn well.

The tension holding

what should be

far from what is,

will break you in its stern grip

unless you grieve;

Eden is long gone.

Cry away the withered hopes

and wash away bitter realities;

your sobs are soul-songs which

rise before the Throne above.

Such precipitation

precipitates

a newly laundered vision;

soon, my child,

Eden will rise

with

healing in its wings…