my brother ate spaghetti
right out of the can,
shoveled cold noodles
& fat-laced meatballs
into his maw, red
sauce flinging down
the aisles, the grocer
stomping & yelling &
my mother shrugging
as if to say what do
you expect when you
stock can openers
within reach of a ten
year old with a hankering
that must be obeyed
more than a mother
working the late shift
after her no good
husband ran off
with that bitch jolene?


wrens lie sweet as apple
butter or so the grackle
says but who can you
really trust these days?
ask the crow shrugging
across the evening sky
but don’t expect straight
answers since crows too
stretch the truth when it
suits their blood-soaked fancy
& everybody says starlings
are good for nothing
except gossip, hot takes,
& revenge so best keep
secrets close to your chest
unless that dark-eyed junco
comes around because
honestly who can resist?


my father once
said the way
to a woman’s
heart is through
the sternum but
don’t get distracted
on the way &
I still don’t know
what he meant
but I’ve had a
hell of a time
trying to find out
by trial & error
& by hook & by
crook & by gum
& tarnation &
thirty years on
my wife won’t
even give me
a fucking clue
so I guess
that old bastard
was right because
I hear her heart
thrumming deep
into night, a ship
churning forward
on perilous seas