Michael Diamond



Let Fly

               for Arnie on the loss of Ora


Let fly the petals of the dogwood tree

Their pent-up demand for earth met at last.

Elegant streamers of pink and white translucence

Gentle against the steel gray firmament,

A lilting motet of wind, sky and tree.


Letters that rise from the granite face

Of a funeral monument, grim reminder

That what’s past is past. The story of a teacher

Compelled to teach, his inner fire made manifest

By his Roman tormentors, Haninah ben Teradion

Died wrapped in the holy Torah. His eyes saw

Only sacred letters rising to the heavens.


Back home rose petals litter our front walk.

Beauty stalks those who would see her.

Two teachers memorialized in granite, one

Whose soul has flown its mortal coop

Some months past. The other, her husband who,

In one hundred twenty years, will join her, sits

And contemplates the beauty riven in stone.




Todd, Aerialized


This is the sound of four faces speaking: 

Tears in an armchair. The riven father.  

It was a lightning strike. Zai gezunt.

Taken together. An undifferentiated mass of sorrow.


Touch down lightly, O four-faced one,

The air around you is on fire and a thousand eyes

Turn at the fall of your foot.


Grief is a leonine thing, the noble creature bereaved

Drenches earth to wash away death’s stain.

Two fans to flutter in the mist before her eyes,

Two fans to drape the deadened body.


Hard mourning becomes the stone ox

Still in his traces, caught mid furrow

Collapsed on his fetlocks, hindquarters

Ground to a halt.


Brother eagle takes to ten thousand feet

Searching, searching for signs, for signifiers.

Two wings beating against the nothing,

Two pinions grasping air.


Bereavement is the mother of sorrows

Most human, the touch of earth itself.

Two words from the shiny black hollows of her eyes,

Two more from the ageless heart. Zai gezunt.



The Point of Departure

                                                                                                for Kap


All things are from water born and into darkness grow.

Each to each its path to crawl, so many ways to go.

The hermit crab must leave its shell a larger shell to find.

The nautilus accretes its home, a chambered path to wind.

The Navajo his hogan leaves when one inside has died

Doors and windows boarded up, a hole poked through topside.

A pair of aging futurists must jettison their books

Their time has come, their race is run, no time for backward looks.


All things are from water born and into darkness grow.


A city burned, a lover lost, dwellings fall to ruin.

All aboard the midnight train while leaving’s opportune.

Does the hermit crab give thought while scuttling ahead?

Does Nautilus think ought of it while climbing his bunk bed?

What thinks the migrant Navajo while driving his last nail?

Does sealing ghosts within his hut prevent their piercing wail?

“What’s the point?” cries white-haired man, his wife beside him shaken.

“The rules have changed, our lives deranged, the furniture is taken.”


All things are from water born and into darkness grow.


I close the door sweet sleeping wife, I’ll not beside you lie

While words dance ‘round within my head, you dwell in my mind’s eye.

May the love that we do share suffuse our days with calm.

May the union of our souls be separation’s balm.

Our children sleep in their own rooms, toys not put away.

The game begins anew for them each and every day.

Each day presents a different stage, performance is a lark.

We hover here at curtain call and when the stage is dark.


All things are from water born and into darkness grow.

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