Michael Griffith

Michael A. Griffith teaches at Raritan Valley and Mercer County Community Colleges in central NJ. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, Bloodline, Exposed, and the forthcoming New Paths to Eden. Besides writing poetry, Mike is a textbook editor and writer of short features. He lives near Princeton, NJ.

Dance

               the heavy air
                     from your shower
tickles
         the lighter air of our bedroom
                     the scents of your shampoo
      your bodywash
dance
      with my antiperspirant
                      my toothpaste my
                                              desire
        morning light through the shades
                            our eyes catch a
                                                    few times
hurry
      hurried light conver
         sation
                  some jokes
                                quick coffee
                                                     kisses and we
                  go work in different
                                              directions
dance with the day
                                toward night
                          our night
9-to5                                                   10-to-6
                     late meeting
ran into a friend
           lost              track             of            time
                                           lost the beat
get it back as
              the heavy air
                          from your shower
tickles                                 again

Between

Here we are,
all has been tried.
The abandoned dancing,
the singing abandon of children,
the flurry and blaze, all that clarity
of now. The givens: ours, theirs, all has
been tried. Hermit crab trips to the sea, now
all we see is 13 miles ahead. Continent of small
mountains between us. Emptied shell time zones,
manifestos—some shared regret, some divergencies
in belief and description; old songs for new. The dance
abandoned, the singing remains. Here we are—children—here we are.

Focus

These warmest houses
these sloppiest of homes
these cellared homes harbor
harbor everything every
mood truth oversight
significance and doubt every
whisper every worry obvious
or obscured in every cold light
 
Kindness ignored or praised
unkindness scalpel-cold laid
bare on these cold floors of unkindness
Solid white houses frigid and looming
in memory like postcards of mansions
plantations and state capitols
Memories of trips not taken or
trips long endured Monuments
 
structures planned assembled
altered decayed structure language
Mother’s tongue to be forgotten as
little else can be forgotten in attics
Erasure marks still show on paper
and pages stained torn spindled
and mutilated Photo album
Digital memory Focus
 
Amber tape crumbles bytes’ corruption fades
Windows don’t close or open properly
jitter in hard winds jimmied with harsh hands
melt and simmer then ice-over frost
at the return of the story and voice
the grip the hand the line
Burn the fireplace walls floor dust
carpet smells and lazy Susan tastes

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