Song of the Cicadas

Sometimes I can still feel

Your fingers tracing lazy circles

On my shoulder

Your arm draped around me

On a summer’s night

The taste of honey and whiskey

On my tongue

The song of the cicadas

Humming beneath the lines of Shakespeare

As we watched a play in the park

A phantom touch

That feels like yesterday

And not years ago

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NPM: Acquaintances

Have you ever watched

As the crawl of time

And the sprawl of distance

And the weight of responsibilities

And the busyness of the mundane

Turned dearest friends

Into acquaintances?

I looked about myself one day

Like a shell-shocked soldier

And wondered how this happened.

How did I end up here alone?

As if I wasn’t at the helm

Of my own life

And this was all an unpleasant surprise

Rather than the result of

The choices I made

NPM: Just Another Book

I keep the book you gave me

On my mantel as decor

Nothing more

I see it every day

My eyes skate past it

As I go about my routine

The rhythms of a solitary life

Or if I see it, it’s just a part of

My collected pieces on display

One book of a few

Until today

When my eyes lit on it

And I thought of you

And the memory stuck fast

Like a bramble to my skin

A pang that dulled to an ache

For what was or might have been

I hope it will go back to being

Just another book again

The Dying of a Dream

I dreamed of what my life could be

Of cities, loves, and being free

To win a heart, to take a name

To weather change, to stay the same

I dreamed of music building slow

I dreamed a whisper, close and low

Beloved face, familiar form

I dreamed the other pillow warm

But cold the bed, the empty home

I wake to find myself alone

Things are not as they had seemed

And thus, the dying of a dream

NPM: Of Queens and Marigolds

We bought four small marigolds 

Yellow heads held proudly high

Regal splashes of rich color

To stand as sentinels at our door

Before we could plant them

Some creature snuck up

And chewed through the stem of 

the tallest, fullest bloom

Its golden crown toppled

Death by guillotine or squirrel

Instead of throwing it away

I brought the flower inside

And put it in a cup of water

It floats there now

Reborn as a water lily

Vibrant as ever

While its stripped greenery remains outside

Soaking up the sun and

Working up the strength 

To send forth another golden bloom

A monarch returned from exile

NPM: Birds Fly Away

Even if Death does not steal those you love, 

Time does.

Time slowly inserts wedges between lives,

Driving people further apart

Almost imperceptibly.

Time deadens the ache you feel for friends.

It numbs the pain of missing them.

Time gives you certain experiences

That are not shared with those far away.

Time hands you moment after moment

Until your hands are overflowing with seconds,

So that you must drop some memories, cut some ties,

To hold them all.

But that is just the nature of time-

It moves ever on.

So do people.

One by one, birds fly away.

It is not in their nature to stay.

NPM: I Do Not Think of You

I do not think about you from time to time
and wonder how you’ve been.
I do not ponder if your broken heart has healed,
and if you’ve found love.
I do not feel a pang at that thought,
nor do I feel an accompanying sense of relief.
I do not worry about the path you’ve taken
or hope for your safe return home.
I don’t see your face in my dreams
or consider what your family must think
or replay any of our memories in my mind.
Clearly, you see, I do not think of you at all.