A Soldier’s Dilemma

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A Soldier's Dilemma

What you aim at,
Sir,
is not an
empty can
perched atop a 
snowy fence post,

nor is it a 
shadowy deer
gliding through 
your autumn forest.

Rather, 
your hand steady,
your eye focused,
your finger gentle

on the trigger, 

you plot 

to end the life of a 
brother human being,
lest he

end yours.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

God’s Blueprint

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God's Blueprint

To be certain our species
would flourish, 

God

constructed a magnetic 
force within us

so powerful

that when young Men,

stopped by a deep
and rushing flow 

of icy water,

or a gaping, precipitous

chasm

rent in the earth,
 
peered forth

and saw 
comely young Women

on the far side
(picking wildflowers)


God

could be certain,

bridges would be built.

From the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

A Morgue Experience

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A Morgue Experience

There is a primitive wailing sound— 
a stricken keening of utter despair—

a mother’s awful symphony 

of savage tongue,
throbbing throat, 
and ruined heart.
 

A son? Handsome youth cut down? 
A daughter? Blooming beauty snuffed? 

Father, steeped in rage, refuses to go, 
preferring to drink himself numb, 

and lay blame at a careless God’s doorstep.

There lurks a hidden cavity,
a storage packet of sudden death, 
murky beneath dark, wet streets.

An officer of Laws for the Living 

escorts Mother down a dim hallway 
to a large viewing window where a
teenager lies in state under bright lights 

and hideous shroud of white sheet.

The blanched face revealed— 

Sightless eyes cannot see Mother,
Stopped arms cannot hug Mother, 
Silent voice cannot greet Mother,
Sealed lips cannot kiss Mother farewell.  

Comes the keening.

From the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection

. . . j

An Octave Below

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An Octave Below

Blessed are those
who live near the sea,

and hear the tiger's complaint
roll deep in his throat—

a sound
the rest of us
can only

imagine

as an impatient Ferrari 

passing by.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Overheard At The Coffee Shop

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Overheard At The Coffee Shop

I do like your hat.
really?
yes. it reminds me of a lampshade 
i once knew.
really?
yes. like you, the lamp wore it slightly askew. 
you mean crooked?
aye. awry. cocked just so over one eye.
really?
yes. it's a fabulous look.
thank you. do you come here often?
here? only to see the hats.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

A Modest Request

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A Modest Request

When I grow old and weary, 
legs all atremble,
unable to walk far, 

and my garden—

oh, 

the delightful colors, 
the delicate shapes, 
the delicious scents—

when my garden— 

with eyes weak and bleary,
is too far to see,


then please, 

if you will, 

bring my garden to me.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Solitary Confinement

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Solitary Confinement

Let's Pretend 
Covid 
cannot touch me here, 

In my imagination. 

There are no mandates, 
no quarantines, 
no needles, 
or masks. 

It’s a place filled with 
delightful and dangerous 

thoughts— 

a soaring hawk,
a magic carpet, 
an enemy fighter pilot, 

breathing down my neck

. . . . j