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Painting Over the Growth Chart

I had to squint to notice them. The linesthat bicker up to door jamb in the kitchen— a notch for every year, or half-a-year,depending on how much the kids had grown. A coat of paint is all it takes and ifit’s not like new, it’s good enough for now. Any sign they ever lived here is blotted . . . . Continue Reading »

The Wheel, The Wheel

Sixteen and a half with a brand new driver’slicense in my wallet, driving my father’s’47 two-toned old clunky Pontiac, I turnedleft off Hempstead Turnpike when a car swimsshark-like in front of me and I’m twistingthe steering wheel left right when somehowthe wheel takes over, spinning this . . . . Continue Reading »


On feet bare like a desert saint’s, it padsacross the porch and toward the dry cat foodmy wife pours out for strays. It doesn’t scarewhen I stomp, bellow, toss a pebbleat its rump, just hisses at me, geezerly,and keeps on chewing. Eyes like little radiodials and fur like coal snow, smog sky, or . . . . Continue Reading »

Les Murray the Misfit Poet

The late Australian poet Les Murray shared with Aquinas, another fat genius, a devotion to the Unmoved Mover and dedicated each of his thirty books to the greater glory of God. He was not a voice crying out in the wilderness. He was a poet sweating out in the bush. Continue Reading »


The kingdom of heaven is likea hummingbird nest, the luckiestcup of air to hold a breastof solitude, but no, not luck but the bitter work of a long beak.Not work, but a thousand grassesof kisses. This is time collapsedto an empty watch after a week building, sewn and lined with down,and feathers, a . . . . Continue Reading »


The snow this morning falls on brook and rushIn great flakes wending slantwise without purpose,The sky above a wakening tent of grey.So does my daughter wake, and say she’s sad.For, sorrow sometimes strikes us with its bolt,But mostly is a kind of atmosphere.It doesn’t enter us. We enter it,And . . . . Continue Reading »

France's Tragic Song

This year, France’s presidential election is being fought almost entirely on the terrain of national identity. Not on the question of who is best suited to govern France, but on the ­question of what France even is to begin with. So much public discourse circles on the same questions: Are we . . . . Continue Reading »

Rising, Rooted

Now is the timeto be still and listen,This is the beginning,Help us to hear,Rooted and rising,The sound of the sea,A whisper, a murmur,Help us to beFluid and flowing,The womb of creation,Rising in water,Rooted in earth,The Sacred is risingIn time to give birth,Mother and daughterSister and . . . . Continue Reading »

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