Strip Mining Beavers

The strip mining beavers came to stay.
At least, that’s what they constantly say
In the bar or on the street
To anyone that they meet.
The beavers arrived only yesterday.

They made a big hole west of town
Causing the collapse of the playground.
Plus, the junior high
Has begun to slide
Past town hall and continues on down.

The streams are filled with run-off.
Most of the children have a cough.
The beavers don’t care.
They’ll do this everywhere.
But the townsfolk have just had enough.

[2004]

The Heaviest Flowers

He hadn’t intended for it to be the defining event of his life.

He needed to buy her flowers.
That was necessary.
He only knew of one florist in town.
The bell hanging over the door made him shiver as it rang,
announcing his arrival.

Flowers were expensive.

Roses seemed inappropriate, but there was nothing else.
The woman behind the counter wrapped them carefully, precisely.
She smiled at him and he cringed.
The flowers were heavier than any he had ever carried.

The bus station was a convenience store with a Greyhound license.
Sitting on the bench out front,
he tried to convince himself that he did not like children
despite a degree in child psychology.

“The hills look like green elephants,” he said,
attempting an irony beyond his grasp.

She didn’t understand the words
or why he had spoken
or why he was there.

He had begun to doubt his responsibility, but he could not ask her.

[2006]