The faces at the
bar seem familiar tonight.
I watch them from my

corner, returning
shy smiles. Thick hands wrap around
our common good. Old

Peter brings me what
I always ask for. This is
what we come for. Chance

plays no part in it,
that singular hard gaze being
the one exception.


The big foxed pages
of ORIGINS overflowed
my lap. Just a child

following the roots
and impacted shards of sense—
armchair archeo-

logy. Not a bad
way to fill winter nights in
star-lit Bakersfield.

The foothills reached Bear
Mountain to the East, snow-
shimmer from my bed.


I have a minor
mind. I’m a sparrow taking
a dust bath in the

weak sun this winter
day. I read Augustine but
I desire no more;

desire is finite
like everything else in
my world. And I know

all is contingent;
I take the givens of this
dusty day as gifts.


Toby, my late wife,
loved Advent Calendars. We
hung them on the fridge.

Day one, her birthday,
was an event, though secular
(she dreaded the cross).

I watched her open
the little windows, wondered
at her childlike glee.

My inward search for
God continues, unrelieved
by her tender touch.


Light oozes from a
split peach in the still life by
an old master who

added a blue-green
fly. Uncanny, we say. What
a difference, we say.

The fly splits open
our contentment, our finite
world now infinite,

we say. We know what
to say. The peach and fly keep
the master’s silence.


Eamonn, your tanka
about herring seagulls on
Dublin Bay come to

mind today because
yesterday, a cold bright day
here in Rhode Island,

I heard seagulls as
if for the first time. If God
shows the way to the

lost in the inter-
play of their lack of concern
for themselves and won-

der that others are,
Narragansett Bay was an
anvil to the cries

of the gulls. Awesome,
as a child would say. It was
like a conversion.


The life-sized mirror
I bought for our bedroom now
leans against the wall,

angled away to
the window opposite. Snow,
bright green from below.

Sometimes a naked
shoulder, a flushed cheek shows there,
O my dear stranger.