The process continues to unfold, and I’m discovering that revision actually means re-envision, which opens up the possibility of truly giving a piece new life, new form, etc. Earlier versions of the following three poems have appeared previously on the site, sometimes with new names, sometimes not, but generally in a completely different form.
Late in the Game
Smoke on the cliff beyond left field
where space between homes is vast
like continents adrift – I say fire does us in
before the next quake, but my father disagrees,
cites black holes and solar winds
as a foul ball careens off a seat a few rows back.
That, or the world goes on long enough
for the Dodgers and Giants to be neighbors
like when he and my uncle stole a car
and drove to Ebbets before teams moved west,
got in for a quarter or some nonsense
he reminisces as tonight’s game
slides out of hand, stands clear
and my father moves ten-thousand years
to the future because that’s how plates shift.
My mind drifts back to the smoke,
tumbles below where a kid reaches for a foul pop
falling toward bare hands, squeezes
around a dream like dust.
Sprawled in the road still warm, the blood fresh
against your skull, l’d like to be
a hand for you, tongue to lick your wounds.
I dress you in my shirt, pat down fur
where I can, shut your eyes because
there’s nothing more to see, still glazed
from your view of death as it bore down.
A collar but no tags, let’s skirt the streets
door to door until we find your bed, bowl,
couch where you honed your claws.
I know, you were robbed, never got
your ninth life. No one does.
If the sun goes down and we still don’t know
your name, I’ll dig a plot – there’s a spot
in my yard, warm like mother’s milk.
You can sleep all night. Then
when you’re ready for your farewell pounce
scratch my door, head home.
When the bus is tight like this
your best bet is to make friends.
Bob wears golf pants, a burnt
brown shirt. Says his legs hurt,
eyes too, and the meds
keep his head numb enough
to make it.
He’s a vet, asks me to guess the war
and nods when I reach Korea.
His wife’s dead but around he says—
hears a shuffle of feet,
sometimes the chimes out back
by the bees he keeps. At night
she’s the chair rocking through sleep.
When I offer she hasn’t transferred yet
he agrees. Some souls get stuck,
hers is too good for heaven or here
and why not?
Now my lap is her seat. Bob wants
to hold hands. Sure—we do
through stops, a few sneers from kids
soon off before Bob pulls the cord,
kisses my cheek.