Stop All the Clocks from Longfellow, Tell Me

Let YouTube and Facebook go dark;
Let Frisbees be banned from JFK Park:
Let pizza-parlors lose their dough,
The grass-banked Charles dry up its flow.

Dive-bars on Causeway Street, close down.
Rose-petals, wither. Summer leaves, turn brown.
Skies, grow sick as a grunge band’s mood;
Young buskers, pause and sit and brood.

Priest, blab no more of hell and sin.
Used car salesman, wipe off that grating grin.
Glad-handing candidate, quit your spiel.
My friend lies dead. Bow down and kneel.

I’ve thought of sending her a text.
But her fierce heart’s stopped beating. Christ, what next?
I’ve wept a Black Sea ten miles deep:
There’s nothing I can do but weep.

Her shoulder’s cold: I cannot lean.
We won’t chat on the phone till 2:15.
Her eyes are locked against the sun:
The days I laughed with her are done.


Detox from Winter in Halifax


My Dove in the Cleft of the Rock from Winter in Halifax


1978 from Winter in Halifax

There were two massive winter storms that year,
two weeks apart. The second, termed the Blizzard,
dumped feet of snow on remnants of the first.

They took a month-long chunk out of third grade.
Our front door grudged to open, and the glass
of all our windows bore a brilliant frosting.

The governor addressed the public, wearing
a different sweater each day. The rest of us
discovered communion in our common lot:

walking in streets few cars could navigate,
wielding our shovels, building our snowmen,
searching for anyone who was selling milk.

Some coastal towns got ocean-water flooding
on top of snow and brutal winter wind.
Inland, a boy died, buried beneath the drifts.

A year older than me. Ten to my nine.
Peter. I remember his first name.


Six in the Morning from Winter in Halifax

Six in the morning. February. Coffee.
I stand at the cold porch door and look out on
the brooding sapphire of the foredawn sky
pregnant with deep blue light that pales and shines
toward the horizon, where the tops of trees
like scriptures in an inscrutable alphabet
imprint themselves on the margin of the day.

Stones in the neighboring graveyard
begin to whiten and become distinct;
traffic percolates through nearby streets:
sparrows sing crisp matins in the chill.

There is a gentle splendor in these hours
before the sun blares and commuters rush,
before St. Agnes’ bells ring Angelus.

Yesterday marked the first day in a week
I did not see your face or hear your voice.