Monday, July 28, 2008


This poem appears in the Spring 2008 issue of Sanskrit.


A thin wedge of stone
weighs my pocket, an anchor,
rough comfort to a nervous
thumb. My geologist daughter
says you can’t test
whether a rock is petrified
wood, or just a rock. No science
can verify, only the human eye,
speculating. If it looks like a
sliver of wood, maybe it once was.

If we were born of clay, and
return to dust, how like we are
to stone. In moments
of despair, needing to act,
I hold tight and remember, in fifty
years I will be dead. My words
will vanish, photographs fade, but
my dust will linger, might
cling to a puppy’s paw, be
swept from home plate, or dance
in a window, motes, to some
child’s delight.

Standing beneath the heavy
branches of a water oak
in my front yard, I dig in my pocket
for car keys. My thumb brushes
a rough surface. I pull the rock
from my pocket, and sure enough,
it looks like wood to me. The fine
knife edge of life weighs gray
in my hand.

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