for Jonas and Amy

From sweetest love you came.
Celestial spirit flown to land 

softy on a budding branch 
of our family tree. 

But your arrival was not soft.
Feet-first, you refused 

your parents' invitation 
for a gentle at-home landing.  

Sirens and your mother's 
weeping attended your arrival 

--- scalpel's final cut welcomed you 
to the world this time around. 

They had already named you 'Archer'.
As if they knew you'd have a quiver 

filled with sharp arrowheads 
to pierce all expectations. 

Down Syndrome, abysmal wound
for the deepest kind of teaching.  

So many hearts break open 
in the radiance of your gaze.
* a person who has attained Enlightenment, but postpones Nirvana in order to help others attain Enlightenment.

-- Helen Kerner

Intimations of Mortality

As a boy I imagined Karloff's Mummy
set off from Egypt, plodding dunes,
arms ever out in the usual Mummy way, 
on his mission to Detroit, and me. 

Now and again I plot him across the years,
stilting in black and white along the long 
Atlantic floor. No character development here,
yet each  dumb ... effortful ... step: a progression.

Rarely as a rule do I dwell on the horror. 
Cursed and carefree as any archaeologist, 
I bustle about, running errands, playing ball;
me so nimble, and him so far.
How slow the director had him project
his shadow ... across ... the screen.
Only my buddy's wisecrack cut 
the fear, helped me make it through to the end:

Anybody who gets caught by The Mummy
deserves to die!

   -Atlanta Review, Spring 2009
-- Roy Mash