“Thirteen”

Detached
and lonely,
in the coldest
part of the wood
not far beyond
the twisting river
and gnarled elm tree
is where the old shack stood.
Broken windows
but a locked door.
Black walls
in the dark,
but honestly red
at the core.
Inside
there are things
it does not
want you to see
but we all
see them once…
just not early.

The first is used last
when it’s all done.
It has a few names,
including One.

Two has teeth
just like a saw.
With a restrictive diet,
it only eats raw.

Don’t let the size
bring a sigh of relief,
three steals the skin
just like a thief.

Nestled at your throat,
four, is the kiss
of a lover
you will not miss.

This one has a temper
its wit in steel burning.
Feel the tongue of the fifth,
as the hilt is turning.

The devil himself
even has a favorite scythe.
Just guess which
he borrows to take life.

Seven, jealous, does not
play well with others.
It has tried before
to destroy its sisters and brothers.

Perfect eight,
symmetrical and kind.
The holiest death
that one can find.

Brutal and slow nine
is the oldest among
it will take its time
piercing each lung.

Brightness will avoid
ten’s dark heart.
Ignorant and crass
its not very smart.

Eleven, the slyest
and most intelligent in sin
because there are two
and the blades are twins.

Entitled and fortune born
its rust color will suck
the souls from its victims
every time, given twelve’s luck.

The final is classic,
just long and lean,
and that everyone
makes number thirteen.

Far away
and close all the same.
The sinister shack
waits,
the master
of life’s game.
One of the scythes
each of us will meet.
On the day the reaper comes
who are you going to greet?

“Ghost Story”

I saw two boys standing,
in the picture,
on the broken stair.
One with a frown,
and the other,
without a care.

The black haired one,
looking very serious
and quite proud,
held a book in his hand
his shoulders pitched forward
as if he had just bowed.

The lad with the smirk
and penny copper hair
all tousled about his face,
had his eyes far off
and looking away
as he stared into space.

It was taken
twenty three years ago
my mother told me.
When the world
was summer and
she and they played near the sea.


On Roan Island
where they lived,
there was a tale.
You see, the entrance
must be given one soul
to go beyond the veil.

My mother said
the boy made of copper,
brash and not coy,
had a timeless laugh
always heard at the wrong time
that sounded with no joy.

The dark haired one,
was forged of iron
and shadow smart.
His cracks were always witty
but they didn’t come
from his heart.

There was a game
they played
those nights by the sea.
“Something more
must be waiting
for our trio of three.”

One long summer,
when the ocean was storming
and the moon was bright,
one of them
disappeared
into the night.

He vanished,
like a light
in the dark.
The light of soul,
gone,
out like a spark.

“Never saw him again.”
My mother sighed,
her words slow.
“Other things I see now
ever since that night.”
and her voice was so low.

“What? What are you seeing
that I can’t?”
I asked shrewdly.
The picture crinkled
in my hand
the boys wrinkling crudely.

My mother stared straight
her eyes startled and wide
and looking right through me.
“I watch the dead now, sweetie,
for years they’ve come and go
creaking floors and spilling tea

they’ll never leave me alone.
By the sea we played
that stupid game.
Never the one soul
I wanted to see
but do I call his name. “

“Who?” I asked.
“Is it that you want to meet?”
She took the photo in hand
and looked down forlornly.
There was salt in her eyes,
and in her hair fell sand.

“One day the game
would catch up
I always knew.
The time to collect
the sin I owe,
proud and true.”

She pointed down
and I stared, then she said
only to me.
“Until now I never saw him
but now in this room
there are three.”

“Invisible”

When I looked up
I saw you.
Just ahead,
with your back
facing me.

You weren’t alone
out in the crowd.
Your mouth drawn taut,
and your arms crossed
tightly to your chest.
Always present,
in the heat
of the moment.

I was cold,
and away
from the others.
My arms clutched
to my chest
for a different reason.
Thinking of things
outside of what
was right there
around me.
Only focused
on what was
directly in front.

I was thinking
maybe this time
you’ll look.

So I walked
right next to you.
Shoulder to shoulder,
toe to toe
and said hello.

You greeted me back,
just like always.
A quick glance,
and a rushed voice.
But still,
like usual,
you never
really saw me.

Always your back
facing me.
So I walked away
and gave you a taste
of what if feels like.

But I’m sure,
like before,
you never
even noticed.

“Hell Fire”

I never got to meet you.
You with a number of lives
I couldn’t ever dream
of reaching.
Ancient and knowing,
otherworldly you.
What things you’ve seen.
What moments you created.
How many lives you touched.
So many red strings tied to you.
The threads stretching,
and tangling,
and tying us all together.
Though we have never met.

And God knows
I wanted to
badly.
Four years ago, in the spring
just like now,
I had been close.
Though life had other plans.
Your home wasn’t home then,
and me,
miles away with no ticket
only a pen.

The world said no
to us.
Though my heart
screamed
yes, yes, yes.

Those spires so high
you kissed the sky.
Now wrapped in holy fire
and me, trapped,
watching you burn
at the pyre.

The fire ate me too.
Even never meeting you.
Why this way God?
Did you ask him too?
Oh, Notre Dame
To the next life, anew
I will one day
stand right next to you.