School Visit

Parts of this one are even almost true.


They don’t let just anyone in, here,

Though there aren’t many students left

This time of year. I tell them, haltingly,

That I’ve come for the exhibition, the play

That the last dregs of the senior class puts on.

The office ladies are not unwilling to believe me, but

They do not let me through until I tell them, also,

That my fiancee works here. Then, I am allowed to pass into

The hallway, find first the open space of gym where

The play is going on. I have to stop, though I want

To reach my fiancee as fast as possible, because in

The stands sit both my grandparents, alive.

They recognize me, but only vaguely,

Too caught up in watching the show. But I hug

Them anyway, knowing that if I don’t, I will regret missing

The chance.





It’s been nearly a decade since high school but my brain still thinks it’s there.


My mother looks out the window

Into the driving rain, the bus pulled

Up to the curb, filled with yellow-slickered children,

Then trundling away. You’ve missed the bus,

She worries, my fiancee and I still

In pajamas, watching television. But I look

Around the room, at the many digital clocks

That ring us with neon greens and reds. They all

Tell different time, some 4:15, some 7:00, crouched

On mantles and shelves, above the stove. But none

Say 9:15, or come close, and today

That is the time we must be at school.

I tell her, don’t worry. We

Always take the car, anyway.


Not sure if I wish I remembered more of this one, or if I’m glad I don’t.


I visit the home of a new

Friend, her long black hair

Shared by her sister who remains

Upstairs. The house is old, antique

Furniture lining stained

Wood walls, staircases hugged

By creaking banisters. But

We watch movies on her TV,

Have snacks in her modern kitchen.

I cannot shake

The feeling that there is something

Upstairs, the next flight up

From her sister’s bedroom.

Her sister says I can check,

If I like, while my friend is

Distracted. But the hall

Is dark.

Exam Time

It’s so much worse to wait for someone else’s test to start, especially when the test isn’t real.


I crash the fighters’ exams,

No intention of taking them myself but

A petite girl and friend of mine

Is up for it, and I want to see

How she does. The room is packed

With potentials, each seated, properly

Spaced, at long wooden table-desks,

Waiting their turns. Some already

Display the yellow folders in front of them

That indicate success, but she

Is several students behind, and each

Takes an hour, at least, to answer

Each question, from the boards behind

Their heads. I wait for a time, but quickly

Become tired, slip out for a nap and tell myself

I’ll wake to see her take it, online.

But I sleep until late afternoon,

Forget to check the website, and

See, from the tiny window of my dorm,

My friend passing by – a fighter, but

I never watched her become one.

It’s Always a Good Time for More Cats

Bit late with this one, but I’ve just remembered it. From a week or so ago.


I’m staying in a trailer

For the week, my fiancee

Left behind at home, while I travel.

A shelter nearby, where I work, has just

Asked me to foster two cats,

A long, lean, pure-white female

And a short ginger kitten.

They roam my trailer happily, watching

Sitcoms with me on the small TV.

When friends come over, I tell them

These two can only be adopted together,

So there aren’t very many takers.

My fiancee and I are likely

To keep them, ourselves.

Wedding Jitters

This is why you should research your wedding location before you book it.


We accidentally crash a wedding, an American girl and

A very British man, his family rife with accents

And black-tie, all playing in the sweeping public park

Before the mansion on the hill. We climb the stairs,

My parents and I, out for a walk and finding joy

In the party’s happiness, when I pass a plaque

That says, in this place, eight children went missing

Years ago. The balcony turns dark, and I know

I want no part of the corridor ahead, wonder why

Anyone would choose to have their wedding here.

But my parents walk on and I must follow,

Past ashen silhouettes of each child, moving, slightly,

When I don’t look directly at them, down broken

Staircases filled with cobwebs and molded wood,

Trapped, finally, at a sub-level alone, searching frantically

For any way out.