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