Skindeep

They say red and yellow tempt appetite,

this fire of peppers, the warning of chillis;

likewise blue suggests the soft protest of

beachside sherbets that never want you to leave,

rather than the terror of the tempest.

 

But who can say for certain

what the fruit tastes like

until the first bite?

Legacy

The footsteps that we make

impressions of ourselves

intended, run

astray.

 

No numbers can predict, nor prophet can foresee

how others, having come across the shadows of our feet

will see them.

 

A light step, a layabout;

a heavy step, a guilty heart,

a misstep righted late,

a stride reversed in hate;

those fearful shallow scuffs of toes

I sketch in dust each day.

Oh, we may own the footsteps now,

but they will own the soil.

 

Lost Muse

They were frantic,

searching and scouring seas,

scanning the unspeakable secrets scrawled

on diary pages.  They put up posters

on every street, on every shiftless day,

for it seemed to them, at least

that they were missing a dog.

She was out there

in the forests, frolicking,

in the fae fields, in frigid frost

finding whatever

that wished now to be found,

to capture, and to bring home.

Burning without Fire

Books of poetry

lie in hiding under the sheets,

persecuted for heresy,

for their scraps of solitary truths,

browned and crispy with age and fearful fingers,

unread, unopened, unseen, for

being unfair, being personal

for being.

And outside the sound of empty pages

flurries to the wild amusement

of a hard and shiny crowd.

A Cleaning Message

It isn’t so hard to be kind.

The way the boxes put it,

it seems impossible:

a spring cleaning

of a century-old house,

of vices and vengeance and

endless mountains of clutter

in the cupboard, in your mind,

But boxes just box us.

There are things on shelves, too.

The mantelpiece. Atop the printer.

Outside, where a wire traps passing-by birds.

Inside, where a silence traps passing-by friends.

Eventually, you can take it away,

piece by piece.

 

In Honesty

The misanthrope’s favourite cafe

was a strategically-located hideout

for cats.

It was whittled and worn,

washed and watered with plants

that were trimmed on the daily.

It was metal doors, wooden interiors

weaved together like a grandmother’s quilt

for a baby abroad in the winter time.

It was

a shot of espresso, a cloud crafted from foam,

with a bell that would tinkle

in unobtrusive welcome and

a barista that remembered his order.