First and Late


First and Late

I see those eyes and heart that loved me first.
Way first. Years first.

I hear that voice that softly spoke the words.
Way first. Years first.

I touch the hands that wouldn’t let me go.
Way first. Years first.

I kiss your eyes and cheeks and waiting smile.
Way late. Years late.

But not too late.


February 26, 2020


Blue Eyes


The old man’s German accent sang my name
From the porch behind the tattered screen.
“Neighbor David, I need your help, please!” He came
Dressed in green-stained boots and ragged jeans.

The rifle danced as we walked toward the fence,
Swinging like a pendulum before
The hour strikes and ends the welcomed silence.
I followed Mr. Houghton’s march to war.

We bowed our heads and spread barbed wire for one
Another, then crossed his dusty driveway and walked
Into his alfalfa, freshly mown.
The old man didn’t see a need for talk.

The sweet hay’s fragrance filled the morning air
Like gardenias in a water bowl.
We stepped as one, my prints on top of his,
Mirroring step for step and sole for sole.

I could see his tractor waiting in
The grass (where it started up a little rise)
And knee high green dancing in the wind.
It was then I heard her frightened cries.

Two blue eyes were staring up at us.
Royal Siamese blood dripped red upon
The sickle bar that left her pained and pawless,
While Mr. Houghton handed me the gun.

He held her down. No parting prayer was said
Before one mournful shot soon left her dead.



Based on a true story

Dragon Breath


The pain is expected.
It has its routine,
like an ancient, circuit-flying dragon
that skims the forest’s brow
looking for familiar victims
to incinerate
with blazing breath.

Listen to the wings –
pushing dark skies,
cutting primal paths,
savoring the quest.

Brace for the flames –
flashing bright daggers,
burning their prey,
ministering death.

Embrace the shield –
covering wholly,
protecting perfectly,
deflecting the test.

June 2, 2019


Old Schoolkids

Our little church bought a limousine
And ferried southside kids to Burger King
For breakfast before heading up the hill.
We’d sing a song or two or three and spill
Some orange juice on ourselves and cry, then laugh
When seeing sparrows on the flannel graph.

I thought it strange that our chauffeur could give
Us all a lesson on how to die and live
While speeding through the morning countryside –
We used to call it God’s Miracle Ride.