the coat

he disliked the coat he had been given
but wore it because he had no other

it had been made with love
and given with love

but only when it was worn through
did he learn to love it himself

lighter 

the old man had lost something
of inestimable worth
more precious than he could ever say

now his burden felt a little lighter
a little lighter
as he went upon his way

(first posted 3 Feb. 2016)

scratch marks 

after the dust broke
I hardly spoke to anyone

but took my relative to a psychoanalyst 
and while he hung about outside 
skated about on the elaborate floor
of the consulting room
apologising profusely for scratch marks
neither of us could see

outside
my relative remained reticent
declining to be recognised 

I bought a poster of the whole event
but have never unrolled it

although I own it
and so does he

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

release

I open the door and release them
one by one

they come to the door and I watch them go
in pale December sun

and some of them are beautiful
and some of them are old
and some of them are ugly
some as cold as stone

and some of them are holy

[first posted Jan 3, 2016]

thaw

snow came early this year

my neighbour and I cleared our drives
without speaking

now there are two frozen piles
at the roadside

like pensioners chatting
at a bus stop

[first posted Jan 17, 2015]