Poem: Prairie Reverie

(Today, a poem for Natl. Poetry Month. This poem appeared in my 2001 novel The Lake Poet.)


I want to crawl into the prairie grass with you
grasp the dirt with my hands, my knees digging in,
grass stains on my elbows,
and the fairy dust of wildflowers sprinkled in my hair.

The joe-pye weeds will stand as sentinels
their lavender riches offered to the sky.
The prairie grasses, gardens of the desert,
will move in a rhythm to match our own.

The thick air will absorb our cries
and the cries of the hawks gliding above us, watching.
Grasshoppers will alight on our shoulders.
and everything will be you,
the clover, the green shafts of cutting weeds,
the yellow ragweed the color of lemons,
and the slice-of-pie ghost moon in the daylight sky.



Ocean City, New Jersey/ 2011

(Changing it up from the usual essay post. Originally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer)


Look at the Polish woman in the black turban and hoop earrings;
her shapeless black swimsuit ends in a flirty skirt.
How do I know she is Polish, you might ask –
because she looks like all my aunts.
This must be her daughter, sullen and tattooed
and her granddaughter, a princess in pink.

Here comes Anna Nicole in a leopard print bikini.
I thought she died, but here she is in Ocean City.
You may be surprised to know
that she is now married to Tony Soprano.

And now comes the young father
wondering how he ended up as pack mule,
bound to fulfill every command of the three females
who precede him, regal in their turquoise and purple Crocs.

Oh, Grandma and Grandpa, how did you get so large?
You are like two barges
moving slowly along the sand.
Was it decades of unabated sticky buns
or the simple accretion of years?
Like two massive tree trunks
where each successive ring of growth
is proof of something.