a game of three questions

I chose a woodland creature
a stag with branching antlers
and said, “We saw each other
while walking through the forest.

I stopped, it turned and shivered
before it bounded backwards,
so leaving me to wonder…
Is that what you are asking?”

They nodded, smiled, and answered
the while suppressing laughter,
“Did you not try to call him?
reach out, get any closer?”

“Not really—just beheld him.”
But thinking twice, I added,
“The moment held some meaning,
some something, maybe longing.”

And only now I realize
my choice was goddamn Wilde,
off drooling in the forest;
off tracking shadows dancing;
all yearning sed non tangens.

My friends elucidated
the meaning of my answers.
The rest I have forgotten
besides the third and final:

“We laughed because the creature
that’s chosen for the last one
is s’pposed to be your partner—
yours blinked and ran away!”

They told me not to worry.
(It’s, after all, a game.)

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along the way

and so along the way
we’ll pick things up
we didn’t know we had to say—

refrains that shake
the condensation
from our cataracted window panes

that we may be found again
by tendrils of the reaching sun

and speak the words
we one day had begun

[for SPU, at the start of a new year]

in response to the shooting

[For those who don’t know: there was a shooting at my school on June 5th. One student was killed and others injured. I haven’t known what to write about it. This is all I’ve been able to do to describe those days, grieving together and being utterly lost, laying our flowers down on the sidewalk.]

we are all quite
wide awake
and simultaneously
dead
adrift in our
own reveries
adrift within
without our heads

my feet fall right
next to you
and others follow, hit the
grass
none of us knows
what to do
hearing heli
copters pass

blind the windows
call a friend
she says yes with bated
breath
classes taught her
time could bend
now she knows just
what that meant

my knees fall right
next to you
and others’ follow, others
bend
they brought flowers
we did too
for this garden
of cement

summer 2011

From the summer between high school and college. I did a series of these little guys for my tumblr blog, which is now gone. These three are season-appropriate, I think.

A Gurney Kind of Love

Where the airplane gashes morning sun
the summer loses all its fun
I turn and run from everyone;
I turn and there meet you.

When everything is done and said
and I’ve been beaten ’bout the head,
lying in the gurney bed—
that’s where I’ll meet you.

I’m about to commit the cardinal sin of writing poetry, which is to accompany a poem with my own commentary. I’ve wanted to share this poem for a while but haven’t. It came to me as I was settling into Oxford some months ago. When I wrote it, the recent anti-gay violence in Russia (and the scattered incidents in the States) was very much on my mind. I very rarely write love poetry, but when I do, it often ends up being as applicable to God as much as to any possible person. This, I think, is especially true for this poem. I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks to Maddie for her critique even though I was unable to resolve the little bumps.