continued from col.1

Waif: 1) a piece of property found (as washed up by the sea) but
2) a. something found without an owner and especially by chance;
b. a stray person or animal, especially, a homeless child.
– Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1980

The truth is – my vaporous,
ringlet-headed waifs
tumbling mad spirals

in my brain, gull-diving
in my felon’s imagination –
the truth is, I fucked up.

Childhood-choked stem
and mid-life bloomer
that I was, I discovered too late

the woman whose chromosomes
pinged like crystal when we met.
Truth is, that sixth sense

unique to women made visible
the broken-spirited ancestors
that hover at my shoulder,

threatening to infect me
with unfinished business. Little ones,
I’d like to be able to say

I was wise to spare you all this,
but the truth is,
I was always more comfortable

with the dead than the living.
To fill my marrow with this “craft
and sullen art,” I bled myself dry.

trying to become the hollow bone
that might sing you all
into existence.

bean pods
rattle –
late summer’s

stiffening wind
fewer dawns before me
than behind.