When Homework is Housework

I’ve never had a professor who was willing to search for booze during class. But sometimes it was a close thing.


This classroom has become a home,

A temporary measure over the summer but now

My bed between two desks is too

Comfortable to leave, my things

Strewn across the floor, making it mine.

But today is the first day of classes,

And, checking the schedule, I haven’t

Read any of the material to prep, and don’t

Know where or when I’m going. Luckily,

I’m going nowhere – My class comes to me,

Filing in and sitting at desks I’ve used

For sofas and kitchen tables and stairs.

My friends joke with me about the mess

I haven’t cleaned, but the instructor

Doesn’t seem to notice, and we spend

Most of the time searching for

A specific kind of blue raspberry booze

That I know I kept here somewhere.

Shift Change

You can’t help but judge when there’s someone new doing your job.


We’ve turned in our keys, all

Double checked to make sure

Nothing in the shop, shadowed

Behind the thick glass doors,

Is anything we need now.

Our last day, before we move.

The next morning I return,

One more thing I wanted to buy

From this location –

But the tiny stuffed animal cats,

Black and yawning, are gone,

The display already replaced.

I wait in line, sure the stockroom

Will still have a few, judging

The new cashier on her inexperience,

So slow to check out only two people

Ahead of me.

Take Care

Sometimes my mind goes a bit medieval, but it always has a soft spot for tennis.


I watch a girl who’s

Clumsy, at best, and doesn’t

Realize how much.

She wants to toss me things

Behind the counter, but

So much is breakable, I make

Her walk them over.

As we prepare, the princess

Warms up her racket,

The tennis ball arcing high,

Shooting out two lightbulbs

That tinkle to the ground in

Shards, like rain.

You see? I tell my girl,

Even royalty must be careful.


This bit of dream was pretty, but very gaudy.


The castle is beautiful, but dark –

Brickwork and marble, stained glass

Behind bars, behind curtains

Too thick to pull away.

My companion says there must be something,

And I find a lever, in a corner, and pull.

A relief, window-shaped in marble

Turns, flashing gold leaf in the sun

That streams through the emptiness.

The lever must turn too, so much

It feels I’m spinning with the light,

Though I can only be seated still.


The first dream I remember in a month, and of course it’s about aimlessness.


We kennel my dog, because

She doesn’t like my friends, but now

The one left sleeping over

Is fine.

I slip out the door before she wakes,

Missing the feel of fur –

Walk up the streets I’ve traveled

Dozens of times before,

Crawl through houses and front yards

When sidewalks disappear,

Hop off railings to the tune of

Displeased homeowners.

I spread anger in my wake, until

I reach the end of a hill

I don’t remember, and the last building

Isn’t the kennel. Slide down the banisters,

Get stopped for ID, and don’t give it –

I don’t need to be here. The guards

Tell me to go find my parents,

And I tell them I’m 24, but

Meet my mom in the parking lot anyway.

I can’t remember where we left my dog,

Though Mom says it’s fine –

We’ll find her.

A Trip Like I Need

Beach season is here, and I haven’t been in the water once yet. My mind thinks that’s a problem.


I know I’m not supposed to park

On the beach, but I do, the only road

I could find leading straight to grass

At the edge of sand. My friend is there,

The one I don’t know well but am getting to

Better, already in her bathing suit, discussing

Cards with the other swimmers, because

Everything comes back to work these days.

When we get in, the water glossy and cool,

The sunfish swim for us like piranhas.

But in the shade of the far trees we can lounge

Untouched by fin, and look over the fish and shore

As if they don’t exist.

Short and Sweet

I haven’t been recalling my dreams much lately, a trick of the heat or of waking up too late in the morning. But this one hit me just before I woke up, so it was still fresh.


He’s eager, she can

See in the way he smiles,

The quick snatching of his hands

At her hips. But before they kiss,

She says, “You won’t count.”