Where I sit to write lines like these
is in the corner of the room
where the window faces east.

I sit there early so when
there is a sunrise I won’t miss it.
All it takes is a glance to my left

to watch the world awaken
which means that sometimes
I do more watching than writing.

Which is probably a good thing.



It’s that friendly gesture
we use to tell the driver
in the other car that we
really do appreciate
his kind consideration in
allowing our car to slip
into the traffic ahead
of him. Courtesy, we think,
should be acknowledged.
Which is why
when I paused to
let the guy in the red
pickup pull out of
the Sunoco station
in front of me, and
he failed to give me
The Wave,
I wanted to give him
the one-finger salute.

But I didn’t.


So here I am. Again.
Kneeling in the dirt,
shaking off bits of soil
from clumps of lawn
I’ve dug up to make yet
another plot for flowers.

My neighbor stops to chat.
What will you put here
she says and seems
to really want to know.

I haven’t decided I say
and see her shake
her head as if to
question my sanity.

She has, I think, a point.



It’s no big deal, really, but most times
when I push the grocery cart
to the checkout, I bypass

the do-it-yourself lanes, the ones
that excuse me from talking to
or looking at anyone. Not that,

a la Seinfeld, there’s anything
wrong with that. And anyhow,
the exchanges I have with whoever

tallies up my purchases and, on
occasion, a smile, are minimal.
Still, there is something reassuringly

human about it, a reminder that
we’re in this thing together,
that a simple thank-you and

a tossed-in “have a nice day”
beat the cold efficiency of a scan
and a screen every single time.


Here they come again,
a man, a woman, each leading
a golden retriever, muzzled

(the dogs I mean).
They will greet you with smiles
(the man and woman I mean)

but will make it obvious
they do not want you to pet
them (the dogs) even though

they (the dogs) are wagging
their tails with an obvious
desire to be petted.

As with many, many other things,
you’ll have to be content
with simply watching.


My first time I was twelve.
Dr. Kraybill was, shall we say,
old school. As in: open up,
hmmm, need to work on those molars.

Which he did for the next two hours.

He thought novocaine was for sissies.
Sometimes his drill went in so deep
it stalled. When he finished,
I crawled off the chair,
congratulated myself for survival,
then heard him say:

come back next week
and we’ll do the uppers.