For Billy



                        No Tears Now


                                    month by


                        the disease takes more

                        of him—


                        nights at the gym,

                        all the “possible cures”—

                        no way back—


                        now in his wheelchair

                        he stares

                        down the long drive

                        late afternoon


                                                as around

                        the bend,

                        brother John plays with

                        his young son,


                        stirring up dust:

                        their shouts echo

                        thru the empty woods.


                        his mother’s at the screen,

                        watching him

                        watch the long shadows.


                        no tears now,

                        no trembling lips.

                                    no one will break

                        that gaze, that revery.




                        The Long Road


                        to Cascade, where

                        we began


                        truckful of furniture





                        no taillights

                        just like kids


                        brother Bill beyond,





                        still alive,

                        tubes to


                        inflate his lungs.


                        so brother comes

                        to brother, to


                        help & learn

                        to suck out lungs &


                        be there


                        stars & ring of black

                        pine & oak



                        first day

                        deer season





For Billy


                        not so much

what we want: 


light comes in

passing thought,


in touching hands,

in quiet watching


clouds pass by,

moon in sky—


eyes must open,

mind, be calm,.


kind as kin,

this dream!


the end, certain as

a baby’s cry:


the babe, the boy,

the strapping man


spring thru a kiss,

matter less than


how we rest

awake in the dream


& see who needs

our touch, our eyes,


& know what can

& can’t be done—


light pierces

the raindrop


suspended for its

brief moment,


ornament & complement

to the oak bud’s tip.






            skull & shell in rock where

                        the delicate tracery of nerves once

                                    shot the gap thru living meat,

            bone digit that once pointed out

stars or tenderly touched clitoris &

birth canal in moments where

their eyes drank each other in

& their skin was singing flame—


            O song!  rise out of that

                        dead mouth now!  bright babe!

                                    leap thru those jaws

            into white air again!  spinning seasons,

                        oceans, rivers, rocks & tides &

                                    still dawn where one leaf floated

            by the boy’s dangling feet, who rose &

                        looked back once & walked away—


            tonight a brother’s greatest gift

                        to brother is letting the goddess star

                                    guide that dark sail beyond

            any horizon for the knowing:  that gift

                        is tears, yet here’s the heart

                                    where kindness is more than kind &

kin is bond for breaking.  farewell!

                        keep watch from that other shore,

                                    we’re coming.