Portraits

Heading off into each moment,
like an explorer of unknown territory,
all baggage jettisoned,
internal wind in his hair.

                        *

Her gesture accompanying
the setting down of the tea cup—
holding the world at arm’s length,
the years of choices made
without real options.
Only a moment in time,
but lasting forever,
even as it disappears.

                        *

A sad sight, ego puffed up like a balloon,
exuding, extruding onto anyone nearby,
tentacles ceaselessly attempting
to pull all life forms he can into his domain,
his mouth connected to a black hole,
extending downward, forever.

                        *

Valiant, irrepressible, she rolls
with life’s peaks and troughs,
like the vinyl punching bag clown
we had as kids—its face always
coming back up to greet us, smiling.

                        *

Laying down her judgments of others,
she sounds so reasonable, persuasive.
But then we notice the slight tension
in her jaw, her eyes,
her hands too poised to be trusted.

                        *

Her computer keys
sing with deep frivolity.
They dance, rejoicing in the marriage
of flesh, machine, meaning, sun,
the life outside her window.

                        *

The sun finally breaks through the clouds
revealing a landscape just like the one
seen when the sky threatened.
“Don’t judge a moment by its cover, son,”
the man says, chopping wood as before.

                        *

Setting up his cook stove,
whistling, wondering why people can’t see
the gifts laying free of charge before them—
air, sun, beauty—life wiggling, rolling,
swooping, turning cartwheels in the sky.
He dances a little jig himself.
A happy camper, for sure.

                        *

The lie passes his lips.
And before it even has a chance
to form itself in his mind
as an ‘incident,’ it is re-packaged,
prettied-up, wrapped with a bow,
and called something else.
“That’s how it is,” he says, believing it.

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