I started this poem in the summer, this 16×20 painting just recently. I’ve visited and changed both several times, and neither feels fully complete. Do any of them? Ever?

I’m watching my son form memories and experiences, many of which I’ve informed, but I wonder what particular magic they will bestow on him.


Cypress Trees on the Tchefuncte

they reach up

from shadows of themselves

so real, in another world

they would be enough

when the water is calm


they reach down 

grey and wiry

dripping with the promise of death

still far away 


they sway 

they stand still

they change color—

vibrate a little in an August sun


he’s only seven, driving the boat

I wonder if he sees the trees

or just the wall they make with

sturdy trunks and graceful limbs


I wonder if he’ll see them

when the boat is parked safely in the marina

when he’s far from the river

     and it’s the fluorescent lights that hum

holding a pencil 

carefully in his not-yet nimble hands

forming words with precise and conscious marks

that rise up and drop down from lined paper—

moss-covered trees

hugging the Tchefuncte