You’ll see them along the road
the long lines of dreams
Not just cloudy and white
But the dust of all colors
plodding along, their chins in their chests
Uninterested in seeing
The last bit of trail
As yet unexpired, but because the end is so near
They sulk, resigned like workers on a Sunday evening
already relinquishing all of their happiness
All of their abandon
They face the abyss of their miserable demise.
Where are they going, these dreams of destiny and adventure?
Ah, to California, that is where
But they are too late for gold
Or even silicon
Nevertheless, it is to California that they will go
To senselessly hide under Your footsteps
And wend their ways into Your long shadows
To be swept along Your mirthless bitter trails
yes to spy
As You throw back Your sweaty head
and quench Your
thirst on stolen
Today I came home early
He’s here, but he doesn’t come downstairs
That’s usual these days
He doesn’t call to me either
The dog’s leash is hanging on the door knob, so I know he’s in the house
Then I see the dog
She’s asleep on the floor
I don’t know what to expect as I walk lightly
Up the stairs
Meditation music whispers through his door
which is shut
I open the door slowly
And he is there
On the floor
Flat on his back
Shirtless, eyes closed, rib cage defined, stomach sunk in
He doesn’t know I’m there
And I watch him for a moment
He is serene
What’s going through his mind?
Should I let him know I’m here?
Clear my throat?
Back up and come in again?
I close the door, nearly all the way
He’s still breathing.
It will come down to this
We were the best of friends
You were there for me
I was there for you
Little things like amnesia
The others weed themselves out like that
They weren’t there
They didn’t stick it out
But you, my friend
you followed me around
you did your part
you held me through the waves of my breaking heart
so that now when I face the deep chasm of the abyss
the end of dreams and hope
a life closing in
I am here for you
Even though I am afraid
of this dark thing
this rage against the dying of the light
I will always be your friend
And the path is clear
ignore the worst
remember the best
It’s easy to know what to do
I will sit with you
and remind myself
I know enough
to make you smile.
And he no longer sees you
But he needs you to make him breakfast
When you look into his eyes and he isn’t the only one
Who doesn’t remember how it used to be
When you look for his eyes and they are downcast
And filled with tears
And then hate because you forgot to order his medicine
When you reach into your mouth with both hands
To hold your tongue
This is when you are tested
What did you know of your vows when you made them?
Did you guess that his body would still be there
But his mind would fly away?
For better or for worse
Did anyone ever explain what worse could be?
Perhaps he would cheat on you—that would be worse
But you never imagined the loneliness of being next to someone who isn’t there
For richer or for poorer
Or that nursing care would gobble up your life’s work
in mere months
You thought dementia was about forgetting
In good times and in bad
Or thought you’d give up your dreams as soon as you could realize them
For all the days of your life
And you remember that you chose him
above all others
because he was so kind.
a snapshot in time
like ocean waves frozen—
Here is where I stopped,
a purgatory, a wasteland.
Like me, these fields once lived.
Now they contain only one kind of straw.
But late at night
coyotes still wander,
and sometimes I wake to their calls,
that like the small spark in my soul,
they are not completely extinguished,
because they survive.
Backlit by the moon,
they sing to the deaf.
Ancients scrape the sky
peal gray from lazy clouds;
chinooks blast their boulders
laugh while pebbles gasp.