EasterRemember what you love,Easter by riparii
you with sand in your teeth
and the feral burn of hunger
in your eyes.
God sends his regrets.
He made you grasping and slow,
in a late hour
when the wine washed low.
Remember what you love.
Fall to your knees in the toss
and the swell, quell
the appetite of the cold black sea.
Beg blessings for your home
and the salt-sick trees.
Reach what lies near:
the fat-faced child, the sweet-soft lamb;
tether the tantrum, trickle the blood.
Offer psalms to what is holy,
whisper the name of what you love
as it bobs in the bleak mad sea.
PrescienceI shall die with words like minnowsPrescience by riparii
still attached to the strings of my heart,
swimming like sperm, jostled and mad,
bearing the prologue of life, the opening bars,
the glorious first drone of the chanter
that moves blood in the way of volcanoes to war,
to explosion, the crepuscular exuberance of dawn,
these minnows attached to the shimmering lines.
But the little darlings get confused in the shadows,
panic when light breaks above the tiny Os of their heads,
while the heart-pole bends
like the long slim fingers of a willow,
down, pointing down to the cress-edged creases
and rocky seams of the cold water shallows
that only the babies of the brook trout know,
beneath the laughing poplar and the somber pine,
where water striders tickle the surface of the quiet pools,
like children tracing raindrops on the glass panes
of a grey-lit room on the longest day of their lives,
I will die like minnows, still attached.
Hunting CoyotesHunting CoyotesHunting Coyotes by riparii
Footfall of a frost-faced hunter
heavy with a winter kind of hope;
one paw raised above the stream.
You thought I would shatter with the sharp bark
of the gun, but moonlight still sparkles
in a spray of wet pearls along my sides.
I am cold teeth, I am the blood-stopping stare.
Between ActsHer new lover had buckets of moneyBetween Acts by riparii
and twenty years more than she,
but her hair was the yellow
of every happy ending,
eyes blue as a January sky.
We sat one night eating cranberry bread
that Nancy had made, crumbly and dry.
She liked it that way she said,
by way of self-defense, and we ate it anyway
because it was something to put in our mouths
that reminded us of things that tasted good
the way dreams remind us
of who we were when we were young.
He bought her Prada shoes, Margaret said,
her fingers twisting in the black fur of her restless dog.
I don't know what to think, it isn't how we live.
Well it's how her daughter lives now, at twenty-two
with her streetlight hair and police car eyes.
We could wear Prada shoes to the grain store
or the Town Hall, we decided,
with our old jeans and our winter coats.
ClaudiaI am a cat Claudia thinks. Cats don't care about rules. They come and go as they please, sleep and eat when they want - everybody accepts that that is the nature of cats. Why couldn't this stupid woman see that and let her alone? She's eight years old and stares with cool disdain at the social worker who says she's come to help her. But she's fine where she is. No one is going to make her leave.Claudia by leyghan
The social worker stares back, a mix of pity and exasperation in her gaze. She's fairly new at this and this is the worst case of neglect she's ever seen. The child is filthy. It is hard to distinguish between her brown skin and what she judges to be at least a month's worth of accumulated grime. Her nails are overlong with what looks to be dried blood embedded beneath. Her black hair is matted and probably infested with God only knows what. She'd been trying to coax the child into coming with her for nearly a half an hour but the little girl remained crouched on a chair that had seen better da