Hope

Twigs move stiffly in
the January wind, grow-
ing tips of root and

branch. These old eyes stream.
I take a walk in the New
Year. I get it now

about signs. Tiny
buds cap the twigs, life’s toeholds,
images of hope.

Piano

Hello moon, new-old
friend, tonight a potato
chip fallen from some

celestial bash.
Happy New Year, cold shoulder
perfect to lean on.

Always welcome, you’d
join my wife and me under
the stars and now that

she’s gone you appear
to walk me home, so hello
and goodbye, dear moon.

Useless

An ornamental
lemon tree in the hallway
of my childhood home.

It hummed to itself.
Was it then I discovered
the misery of

happiness in my
self, as mystic thinkers use?
Ashen bark, bright leaves,

inedible glow
of half-hidden toy lemons!
I’d watch it daring

it to grow and yes
discovering the peace of
art in its absence.

You Winter

You always spent big
bucks on a man-made Christmas
tree: purple, gold, red,

lots of tiny lights.
We kept it up all winter
long. It kept us up

as your vision dimmed.
It was your vision: candid,
uncompromising,

gay. You loved calling
in the order because the
nice man was so gay.

Thorn

Today a year-end
mist cancels the distance I
felt I had achieved

in the world. Nothing
takes shape as I look and look.
When I’m not looking

a drop of dew forms
on the thorn of the rose round
which the garden sleeps.

Anorak

This particular
white Christmas is granular,
icy pellets building

up on roads and paths,
endangering humankind.
In my anorak

I listen to it.
I walk like a duck, funny
from cracked car windows.

I fear falling. Up
and down are never the same.
Between my slow steps,

I breathe. The counter-
point of soft breath and crunch grounds
me this holiday.