A photograph of electric candles with their battery plates piled between them

My candles can’t burn down
Any more.
They can’t burn anything down,
These days.
They just flicker with a false incandescence
Less and less…
Dimmer and dimmer…
As their batteries discharge.

I only replace them,
The batteries, I mean,
When you visit.
So between your visits,
Each night is dimmer and dimmer.
Until I am alone in the dark.

Existential love

Are love and beloved commutative?
You are beautiful and I love you!
I love you and you are beautiful!

What about loved but beloved?

Is that something one can even say, or something one must show?
Or something one must hear,
Or something one must see?

If we are made in God’s image, is he disappointed when we follow his example the way we are with our children when they follow ours?

Does the Lord feel what parents feel when their children copy their vices each time I harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Does he shake his head when you command survivors of ethnic infanticide to remove their sandals?

Does he plug his ears when we command our session trumpeteer to blow his fifth horn and our vocalist to belt out, “Woe! Woe! Woah!”

Does he hide his face as we cover the earth with water?

And where are our faces?
Why don’t we reflect the light we feel,
Do our contorted masks distort photons,
Like planes skew radar,
Our profiles misleading and shrunken,
While our bellies are exposed to any naked eyes looking up at that moment,
as our backs are exposed to sky,
And what do we have to show for it?

But where are our faces?
Why don’t we feel the light we reflect?
Do the photons scatter like outstealthed radar from our false smiles,
Our cross-sections lighter than air,
While the heavens and the earth envelope us completely and form a shape around us that we push through each day wondering why we feel such resistance?

Are endure and endured commutative?
You are cruel, and I love you.
I love you, and you are cruel.

Like your enemy

I made war on the sea and became the waves.

I made war on the peaks and became the stone.

I made war on the heavens and became the sky.

I made war on my neighbor and died, flesh and bone.

International Space Station

We saw the ISS tonight—it was really quite far out.
Reflecting sol’s more distant light, and as it arced its route,
It passed beyond some nearer cloud, and faded out of sight,
But dad and daughter didn’t frown, it really made our night.

City of Brotherly Love

In my heart I was glad, but the city preys at night,
So I was walking angry, looking angry,
Seeming mean past Ben Franklin’s darkened grave,
Past his mint too toward my hotel
When across the street I saw
A bus shelter sheltering someone,
Heaped defensively under dirty blankets,
Sleeping buried trying to stay warm,
I couldn’t see anything about the stranger,
Except that they too didn’t want to be disturbed,
And that they weren’t a bus.
We have bus shelters on every other corner.
Maybe we need more people shelters too.

It’s only a rental.

A rental car is worse than a rental home,
Because you can’t paint it the way you like,
Then paint it back when you’re done.
Two coats of primer
Should be enough for anybody.


Thanks, I say,
Over and over.
Thanks, I say,
But its never enough.
Not because others are ungrateful of my gratitude,
But because what I owe to others,
To their patience,
To their kindness,
Cannot be repaid with words,
or one word,
I say.
Above and past that,
Thanks, I must do.

Face each other

There’s emoji for ?.
And emoji for ??.
But no emoji for condolences.
We need to offer those less iconically,
Reaching out, not just facing away.
We can’t just skim peoples’ past painful chapters,
We need to be on the same ?.