Seraphina of the field
of the clouds and breeze
     on my face like a whisper
     you are my ghost today
before the wind changes


long shadows--ghostly apparitions
dance across mahogany floors
when the breeze comes through the open windows
moving the curtains 
blocking then freeing sunlight 
in an irregular rhythm like your conversations
open and free, masked and veiled, mesmerizing 
tricking me into dancing 

my mask is worn and frayed
constant use has ruined the cloth
threadbare soiled torn
no longer hiding my intentions 
my desires my passions
my anger my disgust
unable to comply with social rules
I smile at funerals 
I am naked 
my face has become a marquee

your mask like Juno is two faced 
executioner or angel with no predictability 
when moving between polar opposites
racing thoughts with unbridled motion
thousands of jack hammer voices screaming in your head
elation then guilt the consequences of mania
then guilt about guilt 
all the while being aware
you have become the Russian bear 
standing balancing on the red-striped ball 
your mind can never stop moving

we avoid some meals
all are silent
we seek distractions 
we read different pages from different books
there is no agreement
we turn away from each other’s unmasked faces
not ready for reality
fearful of honesty
and the embarrassment 
of having nothing left to say

ghosts haunt the halls
in the kitchen, the garden, photographs
there is no escape 
cats long gone appear in doorways
or race along dark hallways
a mother sits at the kitchen table
an uncle surf fishing at the ocean

does the trace of an image linger forever? 
to be recalled by some unspoken voice
when least expected, unexpected, 
un-thought of, unwanted
for years months, weeks, eons

what phantasm beckons them to return? 
a cruel joke of the mind
or an unknown need of the heart
perhaps the will of the ghost
to be seen again
I know naught except the names
of my ghosts

we made a deal
in the spring
we agreed to do this together
in the fall

its fall now
keep your word
no no not yet
its too soon

I’m not ready
see the flowers still in bed
see the bushes
still wearing summer clothes

we agreed when the temperature
started to change
colder nights
colder mornings

that would be our signal
to get ready 
no no not now
a little while longer

holding on will bring you pain
see your color is changing
you can do this now on your own
later the wind will tear you away

no no not yet
the sun is still high
the winds icy fingers
haven’t touched my face 

I will wait until the end
when my skin is brown and brittle
and my life force doesnt rise
then and only then will I let go

when I am the last
I will join you
on the ground
piled against the fence


end of summer 
dandelions aged white
     gone to seed
     growing parachutes for
next year’s host
to catch a ride
millions of travelers
     in this yard
     waiting for a child’s breath
to begin their journeys

stopping only when the air is slack
gliding to the ground
     in the neighbors yards
     the parks
     the cemetery
laying on the ground
waiting for fall rains
     to soften the ground
for tendrils dig in
waiting for spring