A Certain Joy


There is a certain joy
that depends on nothing.
One inhabits it.

It is there in the day
when you walk out,
whether chill and gray
or magnified by light,
and you inhale it.

Now it is in your blood,
and it fills you to the skin,
wraps a tightness around your heart.

It is in you, yes,
and equally in the world,
where it speaks from the darkest rose
in your neighbor’s garden,
or the bright metallic flash
of an absurdly tiny bird,
copper and green and red
in the glinting air.

The city streets are miraculous,
how they wind downhill through the trees;
the smell of smoke from the houses
sweet nostalgia.
This in spite of everything.

If you met a stranger, his face obscured
in the hood of his night-black cowl,
you would say, “How the sun glints
on the beautiful curve of your blade.”

(Originally published in Eclipse)


Out Late in Summer

A glowing mist illuminates the street,
or so it seems, so magical the light
of street lamps on an August night. Not quite
thirteen, set loose, the freedom of bare feet
on pavement, buzzing insects, rare delight
of empty lanes, abandoned schoolyard, heat
and dark—forbidden smoke. Like cats, we meet,
assemble in the shadows, silent, slight
and furtive, keeping distance. But the thrill
of new connection flutters like the great
bright luna moth that flaps along the edge
of vision, brilliant, spinning in the thrall
of an imagined moon, quick like the heart
of someone poised for flight, perched on the verge.

(Originally published in Able Muse)