ALL THESE SMILES OF CHILDREN All these smiles of children that life has slain In the microscope of its reality. I have found a smile in this one memory When I was a boy and digging for dinosaur bones in my backyard – Something that has come to me As I fold my shirts and think about how good it felt To fold my children’s shirts and put them away Another life ago when I was with them every day And they were my only reason to look forward to tomorrow In a life of otherwise torment. All these smiles of children that are removed by the realities of life: I can see them now thinking about my dinosaur books, my wildlife books, My book on the birds of North America And how I would use them to draw all day and night Back in those days When I was not thinking for a moment That anything was possible or impossible Or what would happen beyond The next day or week or month. All these smiles of children and I think about My children who do not smile And sometimes it is because of me And I hope they have memories like mine Of digging in the yard or whatever they loved At a similar moment in their time And that it is possible I helped to give them Such a memory And it keeps them warm On this cold cold night. Of that I pray And it is my only Prayer. LOVE AND DISASTER I loved her when she hated me And now that I hate her at last She has decided again to love me. It’s too late for me, I’ve already been ruined by her But I think about her decision anyway, Knowing that no matter what happens I will die alone one day In a bed without affection. These magical threads That twist, hold us still and bind us – Part mud, part thunderbolt Slogging through and jolting our veins, Gunking up and jumpstarting our flabby hearts – Of human confusion and nuisance That for thousands of years Have linked love and disaster As I grow older but not wiser, Standing in my doorway waiting As the shadows overtake me The way they overtake us all – Slowly and without notice.