In the Desperate Kingdom of Love: Poems 2001-2004
POEMS 2001-2004
(Chestnut Hills Press, January 2005)



My Wife and I Wait Up for Our Son

My wife and I
Wait up for our son
We read and yawn,
Read and yawn,
Listen for his old carís exhausted return
The garage doorís groaning rise and fall
And the footsteps clumping upstairsÖ
Finally, he pokes his head in
With a gruff greeting
Tosses his sauce-stained apron
Into the laundry basket
And trudges into the bathroom
We bid him good-night through the closed door
Then enter our bed
And fall asleep to the delicious sounds of
Crickets, rain,
The flushing toilet
The brushing of teeth.

Twilight, June

My daughter and I ride bikes
Her brothers away at camp.
The brown rabbits nibble furtively
At the edge of the path
Then dart into their dark dens as we near.
The first fireflies flare pale-green
And evaporate against the hushed trees.
On her brotherís too-big bike
She pedals ahead, almost standing
The sweat on the back of her neck
Glistening in the graying light
The beacon I faithfully follow
Down into these wanting woods

Would I Ever Love My Father More?

Than when he drove me home
In our brand-new Buick
Navy-blue outside, silver inside
The very colors I had picked
From the showroom catalogue?
His black hair shone like the night
Arctic air blew from the vents
The radio rose rich and deep
And I gazed out the magnificent, curved windshield
Into the luminous heaven
That for this merciful moment
Only he had the keys to


The middle-aged mom
At the elementary school dance
Has still got it.
In too-tight jeans
And a flowered, sleeveless blouse
She glides onto the gym floor
Tall and graceful,
Swaying like a plump pine
Above a lawn of leaping children.
As the colorful strobes caress her
With blue, then red, then violet
The DJ pumps the beat
Her eyes close, her lips glisten
Her private partnerís the past
And she is beautiful tonight
In the way moms can be
When they gently grind
Their heavy, giving hips

Marriage is Like a
Night in May

The brushed kiss of a breeze
The slow dance of green leaves
Against the charcoal sky
A plodding beetle
A fluttery moth
The silence,
The silence
The smell of distant rain

I Am Asking

This poem
To remind me of this day
It is the only way Iíll remember
What is remarkably unremarkable:
My wifeís smile
As she shows off her haircut,
One sonís banter
With his beleaguered buddy,
One sonís surprised laughter
At my dry joke,
My daughterís pride in how well
She wrapped her friendís present,
The January sun
Somehow warming us
After days of hapless shining


Highway 15 in a rented mini-van
From Nevada through Arizona into Utah
Mammoth white clouds
Popcorned in the endless blue oven of sky
The kids in the back seats
Laughing and arguing
Mocking my wife and meÖ
What would happiness be
Without despair, desire
And the infinite ache of love?
Up ahead,
The mountainous thunderheads
Whip their white strikes
And beckon us
Into their voluptuous lair