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.

Through a Glass Darkly

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When you look through my window, what do you see?

Does your own reflection distort,

distract from my own?

Or do those dark eyes

perceive my frantic efforts to achieve meaning,

see through the fragile skin

to bones as stark as grave?

Can you see past the crumbs,

past the messiness of life in the living,

to the heart beating love

and fear

and sons and daughters,

meetings and givings,

turmoil and rest?

And I wonder –

Have you mastered

the mystery of your own survival,

do you know where

hope hides

when the discomfort of the stretch

comes?

Can you tell tales

to keep nightmares away

during unending Arabian nights?

Do you wonder

about me,

the way I wonder

about you?

Perhaps

this glass between us

distorts how I see you,

how you perceive me.

Perhaps

there is only

this film of silica

keeping us

from

knowing the other.

If this glass were cut,

would we bleed

together?

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.

Dreaming of Home

Alone.

Solitary confinement

has drawn invisible barriers

that hurt to break.

Desolate.

She travels light

and only in her dreams

will her seed rise up

to bless her.

Friendless.

Hers are the cries

of the gulls on the shore,

mourning her losses,

dreaming of

home.