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What I am Reading
  • Infinite Jest
    Infinite Jest
    by David Foster Wallace
  • Home Safe: A Novel
    Home Safe: A Novel
    by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Religious Case Against Belief
    The Religious Case Against Belief
    by James P. Carse


"In the 1840s, two sisters fall in love with the same man.

                       While drunk, he writes a letter proposing marriage

                       to the wrong one."


My friend from New Zealand calls from Palm Beach

to tell me in her lovely down-under tones

that David, her husband of 40 years is gone. 

She'll go in August, that august month, to take home

what's left of the hearty man who loved her--

admired me.  Ashes to ashes, earth to earth,

dust to dust, or in the case of the precious 65%

of the body, water, returned to water.


New Zealand, Yes! "Green Dolphin Street," old film

of transport.  Lana Turner in her finest role.

Van Heflin, concealing love for the bride sent-for

in error--her inconsolable sister fleeing

to the sea, whose incoming tide entrapped her.

A rocky climb to safe haven with the holy women

at the top of her washed-out world saved her.

Poor girl, first time an ocean ordered

"Get thee to a nunnery!"


I have been a witness to the mysterious tide

of Mont St. Michel's 'plein mer,' its glistening lip, gliding

snake-like to reclaim what was solid, solid no more;

threaten feckless strollers struck with sea fever,

or a would-be bride in wrongful death.  Solid, this earth,

as far as we know, "terra firma," yet terra agua

summons us: the cobalt ocean of my childhood,


a sparkling Paris fountain, its sibling in St.-Michael

town, assorted rivers I have loved: Georgia's

Chattahoochee, the fabled Seine, or the Flint River

of family outings. These move the plasmic stream

within, washing where the ashes of my brothers

enrich the ocean.  David's destination, as he

follows their lead, and Yes! I will join them

when the tidal heart runs out.



                  for my brothers, George and Jim