Of course,


the dark thoughts come to me

at dusk,


binding and unbinding

like a continuum

of blackbirds

in the rain.


On the shelf,

you’ll find our frosted hourglass


filled with sugar

and cinnamon,


and pumice and ash.


In a drawer,

negatives capture us

in suspense


like wax-papered leaves

ironed into a book:


our eating fish in Portugal,


our holding up bicycles

under an olive tree in Spain,


our squinting in a field of lavender

in France.


By the time

I make my way

to the yellow umbrella of light

and push open the Dutch doors,


you’ll have been gone a decade.


The upright stands still

in the barn,

until I lift the hinge

at the keyboard

and put a boot on a pedal


so that I can hear

boldness in the echoes:


Such are the notes

I play,

my fingers following each other,


like the ghosts of horses —


leaping over fences

of broken chords,


pawing their hooves,

and slowing alongside a stream


filled with eddies

and decaying notes,


while the world herself

opens during the day

and closes at night,


as if an orchid.




I won’t tell you that God

is a master illusionist,

hypnotizing us with the pendulum

of our lives.


But, if I could sing,

what would come from my mouth

would rise from the roots,

would bring to you


the waters of what I am.



a flash of phosphorous,

the footfalls of thunder,

and the smell of lightning.


For a briefest moment

I see everything:


the silhouette

of our clinker-brick house,


the vineyard lane,


even the small mound of stones

where we stood in tears

after burying our dog.

Peter Coe Verbica, grew up on Rancho San Felipe, a cattle ranch in Northern California. He earned his BA in English from Santa Clara University, a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law, and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married, with four daughters.