A wooden seat

Missionaries congregate
by a wooden seat

orientated to the east,
the radiant sun,

crowned willingly
by everyone, who fall

on this autumn morning
easily into worship.

Mindful perhaps
of a life-giving force,

though more likely
a humble bliss.

No priority given
to metaphysical claims,

only competing interests
on a wooden seat.


I would love an apple orchard

I would love an apple orchard,
with goats kept at bay by a fence,
with pigs, snout-ringed, allowed
to sample the windfall fruit

only, not my perfect darlings,
hanging ripe from heavy, drooping
branches, waiting for a hand
to appreciate them, like I surely

would, if an orchard were mine―
but I’m old, and it’s too late now
to plant stake-bound saplings in land
I do not even have a lease to own.

There’ll be no evening dalliance
with the sweet fruit of Eves,
just apples enough from one tree
planted, wisely, many years ago.


Debt free

You’ve written
that because it’s my birthday
you’ll do all my work for me
for a day a week

if you’re referring in your promissory note
to the dishes I wash
you’re not tall enough to reach the sink

and I’m not sure just yet
that I’ll trust you with a hot element

and while you’re strong
I know you’ll struggle to push a lawnmower

so how about
I accept your promise
knowing it doesn’t need to be kept

because you’ve already done your best work:
the work that matters,
the work we do for each other

when there are no debts
or promises.


Murderers are coming


murderers are coming
can it be true?
when are they due?

should we drop everything?
wipe the floor?
stand back in awe?

should we put on a show?
the kids are in bed,
the carpet is red

what have we done?
they say they’ll protect us
—who’s going to object?

should we change the sheets?
make it nice?
put the champagne on ice?

who’s going to speak?
should we make a toast?
enlist the Holy Ghost?

what do they want?
should we sign a deal?
ask them how it feels?

they’re coming through the gate
—what shall we call them?
our very good friends?


From Pandora’s box

Last night I dreamt that Elpis had left
the box, and was dancing without favour
house to house: a lilting promenade, a teasing
piqué tour, a pirouette each time she crossed

the centreline. And one thousand faces,
passed it and before their prime, leaning
out of windows, trying to draw her in
with pleading eyes; knowing what was lost.