Guild Beach After the Storm

After the storm, thick spindles of ice sparkle on the shore. Some compose the jagged teeth of a driftwood comb and others fill the arch of another forsaken branch, stalactites with the sky for a cave. Lodged in a firm stance between jutting shards of construction rubble, the wooden frame remains unshaken by thousands of …

Eye of Shark’s Prow

At the freezing point, wild west wind and lake spray mantle the trunk like marzipan on a rich cake. Thickened ice highlights the outer margins of the mass and then darkens to charcoal-purple, legacy of the long drift from forest to midnight bonfires on the beach. As it salves driftwood burns, ice defines the border …

A Stone Among Boulders in Winter: East Point Park

As I nestle between lakeside boulders, drifted ice drapes me in a veil. Successive layers of frozen water etch a daguerreotype portrait of arrested lava, once-fluid anger trapped by a season so heavy and cold. Behind my nape, the thickness of the ice is greater, and swirls of gray-blue shadows entwine in smoky tendrils with …

Christmas Tree Stories

My grandmother Mary Raine gave me this Christmas tree when she was 93 years old. She no longer felt like putting it up every year, especially after the deaths of my father Ron and his younger brother Bob, so she passed the tradition to me in 2004, the year my uncle died. At the end …

Unhinged Condition

Unexplained on the wide sidewalk, the door stands upright with the aid of two wooden stands that grip its bottom rail a few scrapes above the absent threshold. Though the door no longer opens or shuts, the stout pin of one hinge remains, partly encircled by a barrel of the same rusty vintage. Cracked layers …

Insubstantial Chains of Self-Criticism

At nine o’clock in the morning, serrated leaves resting against the fence receive the signature of dark steel lines. With emboldened chains eclipsing the more delicate rows of veins, diamond shapes define the screen of the leaf-surface, imposing fence patterns on what should grow free. But the fence’s shadow, looping and stamping itself at nine, …

Memorial Collage and Poem for my Cousin Patrick Harvey Jones (1972-2019)

Not long before Pat died, he sent a card thanking me for a Christmas gift. The medication that he was taking caused his hands to shake, and it touched me that he still made time to write despite the difficulty. When composing Cousin Pat’s Letter, it seemed right that the piece should include an example …