Vapor Trails


Harvest moon tonight.
It will be cooler, and grow
cooler still as each night
falls away.
I live upstairs you know,
so standing by the silent
piano I can see the vapor
trails curved and stretched
among the clouds, bound
for San Francisco.
Even at night, the moon
will catch them, bring
them down for me.
The dog doesn’t mind
a contrail in the house;
the ghost of a journey
not our own.
She sleeps.


I could make supper
and watch TV. Or stand
in the center of the room
and kill the lights, bend
the darkness around me
like a coat, an iron
maiden of my loneliness,
my unmusical, unhappy
self. The dog shifts
to a new plot of carpet;
fresh ground for her dreaming.


It is all well. The crows
are down in orchards
to the east, their vespers
done. I made spaghetti
and watched the evening news.
We learn so little of each
other, even if God gives us
months. So you’ve returned
our coarse, untangled
distance, and my bathroom
drawers. The dog
wakes up, and looks around
for you.

I wrote this piece in the fall of 2004 and first
presented it publicly at the reading for
Cafe Solo Press in Ventura in August 2006.

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