Winter Words

On cold winter mornings
	in Santiago,
	I wanted a typewriter —

I looked at the machines
	in the repairman's window
	each day as I walked to work —

There was winter prose,
	trapped in the keys,
	waiting liberation —

I always passed by,
	never entering once —

All that English
	still languishes cold
	in Chilean solitary.


Waiting is
	gray and cold
	even in summer —

Jorge waits in line
	two hours a day —

And Norman says
	when he's in line
	he's doing something wrong —

Queue shortening,
	fruit ripening,
	tank filling,
	baby entering world,
	life ending,
		most tedious of all —

Always in the future,
	unfulfilled anxiety.

Waiting to See a Movie Alone

Friends, lovers and enemies
	are the line —

Alive, feeding itself
	each other's memories
	fusion of parallel parts,
	forming and reforming
	during lifetimes —

I intersect an instant
	and live a series of isolations
	in a queue alone forever
		and quickly forgotten.

Two Old Cats

Two old cats live with me,
	as healthy as two year olds,
	each patiently hating the other
	and loving me these many years —

Universal constants,
	I should have named them
	Hubble and Heisenberg.

Things at the Last Minute

Rolls, babysitter, medicine, coffee,
	you're on my mind —
Try to work, talk, talk, talk,
	you're still there —
Checks, flowers, books,
	(once, you wrote to me)
Cook, dishes, pack, eat
	(your eyes across the table)
Tired, exhausted, lonely,
	sleep — bed.

The Tree

A spruce of some sort,
	dense with painful needles —

Somewhat taller than
	the six year old
	who had taken a sudden interest
	in something other than a Star Pine
		bent double with
		its weight again in ornaments —

After twenty years,
	that scent of indoor conifer
	was ecstatic.

Talk and Snow

Today, I talked and talked
	about bacteria and
	other little things —

I talked and talked and talked
	while snow fell outside,
		silently, gently, adding
			onto itself,
		blurring my morning tracks,
		burying my car,
		erasing colors, blacks and grays —

I left my white board
	covered with red circles,
	blue arrows and black words,
And entered my white world,
	soft white mounds
		on flat white planes,
	white sky,
		white air —

Speechless and lost.

Sunrise Satori

Sun layered gold through green
	onto black snow
	Christmas morning —

Gwyneth, dog supreme,
	loped silent snow paws
	through light and dark
	of forest dawn —

Saw bear lumbering
		to winter sleep,
	spruce bough settled,
		with curious gaze —
Gave chase at imagined nothings
	floating in air ice
	great dog noises snow-muffled
		making silence silenter —

Finally circles into white nest,
	smiling at bear protector,
	who dreams of crazy cat,
	who laughs at dog below —

Three creatures
	sensing a brief perfection —
		right place,
			right time.

Slippery Sax

"Crystal White Detergent"
	-- that's mine.
		'That's nice', he blew, no words.
	You knew just what he said,
		with that two-note thing,
		biting hard,
		filling cheeks,
		tearful logic,
		love, much chaos:
'Pale wrist submerged'.
	'Beat that', he blew,
		and I, with
uncharacteristic hesitation,
	I ...groped, my
halleluahs submerged
reverent suds
	detergent discovered
		on a mental counter.
	One last challenge,
		he blew again:
'I cannot do this, cannot cannot Kana...'
		...who tail-waggled in,
		knowing her wordless name,
	tootled in puddly notes lazing low
		around his feet.
	She lapped up sounds and
		loosed me,
			forgotten --
	I was no man again, and
		he won,
			no words
	against my slippery syllables.

-- Eric Kofoid & Kelly Sullivan