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.

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