Migrant

He came to the city while still a child
He serves me my half-glass of tea
As I wait for my bus to arrive
He swats the flies, smiles at me

He lays out some shriveled fruit
On a mat on the sidewalk, to sell
He offers to wipe my windshield
For a coin or two, then wishes me well

He brings me flags and whirligigs
Little amusements at a traffic light
He balances a pan of wet concrete
On his head, at a construction site

He sits patiently and shatters
Granite rocks in the scorching sun
As they build a new expressway
For our shiny new cars to run

I read daily the news of his woes
I tut-tut, mustering all sincerity
He has a face, a name, a family
Yet he is only a migrant to me

I lament, loudly, my loss of freedom
Knowing full well I am safe and secure
Amid the sturdy beams and girders
Of my routine’s stable structure

I have my refuge – he has none left
The warren he lived in was taken away
He lost his living – that was weeks ago
He hangs on to life – it’s all he has today

He sits under a tree, rubs his tired feet
He thinks about the miles they must walk still
I think of him – I tremble with grief and guilt
If I can gift him these useless feet, I so gladly will

Dirge

When my short life ends
When they receive the sad news
How will they describe me
What words will they choose?

When my short life ends
Was I a good husband, brother, son
Did perform my earthly duties well
Was I fair to everyone?

When my short life ends
Will they say he was worldly and wise
Will they say he was a good friend
Will they regret my demise?

When my short life ends
And I’ve reached the end of the race
Did I help those who ran alongside me
Did I make their world a better place?

When my short life ends
What will they remember of my pith
What will be my legacy
What will I leave this world with?

When my short life ends
What essence will emerge
Will they just sigh and walk away
Will they stop to sing me a dirge?

So Can I

Defeated by darkness, night after night
The sun still rises every morning

Losing its radiance, waning through its phases
The moon perseveres to shine again

Tossed around by the storm, burst open by lightning
The cloud still floats joyously in the sky

Brought down in its prime by many an axe’s blows
The tree still dances carefree in the wind

Desecrated daily by heedless, hurtful humans
The river still flows, quiet, constant

Hunted by hungry predators, often before it’s born
The bird still sings its magical tune

Life is evanescent, death forever looms large
Yet every creature still lives and creates

If the sun can rise
The moon can shine
The cloud can float
The tree can dance
The river can flow
The bird can sing…

If they all can live
And create
So can I

Six Feet…

Locked down in our separate spaces
Both of us battle our common fears
Anxiety writ large on our faces
Six feet… can feel like six light years

I want to hug you and hold your hand
I want to wipe away your tears
But I might hurt you, I do understand
Six feet… can feel like six light years

I can’t caress you or stroke your hair
I can’t comfort you, even hold you near
Just know, my darling, that I really care
Six feet… can feel like six light years

I’ll cradle you in my arms, ease your pain
But we must wait till this scourge disappears
When it’s gone we’ll dance in the rain again
Six feet… can feel like six light years

This distance between us feels like an abyss
In my every dream your face appears
Darling, your touch is what I really miss
Six feet… can feel like six light years

Have courage, dear, we will get through this
Have faith and pray that the storm soon clears
Stay safe now baby, let me blow you this kiss
Six feet… can feel like six light years

Together

Quick - before the sun
Dips under the horizon again
Let’s make this one
Last shadow rabbit on the wall
Together

Quick - before the rain
Washes the sidewalk again
Let’s play this one
Last game of hopscotch
Together

Quick - before the top
Stops spinning again
Let’s just this once
Relive our childhood
Together

Quick - before the match
Goes out again
Let’s light this one
Last bright candle
Together

Quick - before the music
Stops playing again
Let’s have this one
Last magical dance
Together

Quick- before the second hand
Moves forward again
Let’s finish writing this
Last chapter of our story
Together

Quick - this fleeting moment
May be the only one that’s left
Let’s try to make it
Last as long as it can
Together

Sometimes a Poem

Sometimes a poem is a sudden tear
You never know when and why it will rise
Sometimes a poem is a vivid daydream
It appears in color before your wide-open eyes

Sometimes a poem is a fine sculpture
You can chisel it into a beautiful shape
Sometimes a poem is a lofty tower
You can erect it into a soaring sky-scape

Sometimes a poem is a naughty little girl
Who mocks at you from behind a half-open door
Sometimes a poem is a game of hopscotch
Like skipping through patterns drawn on a floor

Sometimes a poem is a playful lover
Who creeps up behind you and says “Guess who?”
Sometimes a poem is a bashful bride
Tiptoeing tentatively toward an eager you

Sometimes a poem is an April shower
That makes the flowers in your garden bloom
Sometimes a poem is a swing in the park
That cradles you and lifts you away from your gloom

We poets have a secret that is all our own
One that we have never before shared with you
Poems, like saplings, sprout on their own
Laboring over them is a thing we seldom do!