Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Early Peonies

the peony buds

   and their very own

      army of ants

  on maneuvers

   don't know tophats

           from tapioca

but a wind

      from the southwest

   they recognize

Seeing Snyder Again in the 80's

He's much the same

              truckin' stride

                        mountain goat demeanor

          Tibetan about the eyes —

                                      a feisty sprite

after his talk

       I come up to him

                     in a coat & tie

      and Italian leather shoes

    — gray in my hair

                          and paunch from citywide

              wheel of parentkarma

           introduce myself

& he cocks his head

             leans back a step

        and eyes me quizzically

I say

   referring to the way I'm dressed

        "Yup, it's me, all right"

He fixes me with a glance


                referring to his own getup

             (short patrician haircut

                                            [Bubbs Creek update]

                   professorial reading glasses

         neat blue suit coat

                                   snappy old tie

                         & buttondown shirt

      — still the earring     [diamonds, now]

& still three humpbacked flute players

                                             on his belt buckle — )


            "Yup, it's me, too!"

                          with eye crinkle

                       and gold tooth smile


Joey (2001-2016)
       for Orion and Lynn

our beautiful yellow cat

   who spoke to us so eloquently

  always groomed my beard

      as he did his father

     and his siblings

and even inside

         his dog's ears

died yesterday

     even as he was dying

he smelled like fresh-cut hay

I wept and kissed his forehead

     then each of his pure white boots

   then curled him in a shoebox

           and placed him in the basement freezer

      until next spring

               when we'll bury him

under the lilac hedge

    next to his father

I will forever

      see his upright stripy tail

   cutting through the wildflowers

as he makes his way home


Ken McCullough
Red Dragonfly Press