Like Ice in the Sun

collection of poems from Illinois and Wisconsin, winter 2022-2023


I am learning

     to be slippery

         like ice in the sun.

–––––––– ~ * ~ ––––––––

Rock Slides

In my hometown

     the sandstone and limestone cliffs lean over the shoreline,

undercut by windswells and the king tide.

Sometimes rocks would tumble downwards,

    and buttes would shear and fall.

Here, now,

     windowed steel and concrete cliffs stand perfectly straight

over the lakes edge.

     And sometimes people fall.

–––––––– ~ * ~ ––––––––


the air is frigid,

so sitting on this concrete bench my thighs feel wet.

I feel my flesh is no warmth,

my hand is a bundle of bones.

the windchills

spark direct to my nerves,

     wrapped around tendon,

          wrapped around bone.

–––––––– ~ * ~ ––––––––


These nights I hold hands with the sun.

Two hands enlocked, one arm bent

     one straight.

She gives me a twirl,

     and I wake up dizzily in the morning.

–––––––– ~ * ~ ––––––––

The Dells

the highways are not smooth,

and through the window there are house-boxes

     with torn roofs,

folded between layers of blanched dead winter corn,

     barren greyscale trees,

and washed out clouds,

     drained of blue.

–––––––– ~ * ~ ––––––––


Palms are open

they hold candles

small so the flames

dwell in the center of the cup.

February in Chicago

palms are cups

hold the small flame

safe from the wind.

Wind drifts through fingers

pinches out the flame

hands get cold

loss of life.

Allah, let us pass this test

gathered in a circle not well-formed

eyes are down

starting at fire.

Don’t go out


don’t go out.

Standing in winter

standing in Chicago

the flames go out.

The chaplain keeps praying

so does the priest


Beyond the misshapen circle

the flags ruffle but never lift

the flags of Syria and Turkey

who’s children speak

looking down without tears.

The Chicago wind spirals

into our palms

pinches out the flame and a tear.

Our fingers start to freeze

we turn to our neighbors to relight the flame

Image: Barn Near Columbia, MO by Marc Bonhe, 10 x 12 inches, oil on panel