Spring Along The 5
A field of weeds releases
swaying yellow hallelujahs—
flourishes that surge
through the San Juaquin valley.
Heavy with sun
a few stray cattle, scatter
among rows of bare pomegranates
steep on a hillside orchard.
Battling sleep, one bows on spindly legs
nestling his heavy body, listening
and the promise of blossoms.
A Psalm of Unreason
For some reason
that remains beyond reason,
things keep going wrong.
and smaller pieces.
I watch God age
into an old man
who can’t be bothered.
Cold and mumbling,
he wears a matted sweater,
stained and unraveling at the cuffs.
Crumbs of trouble cling
to his pilled, wool, cable-knit
all the days of my life.
There’s nothing to do
but wait for him
to brush them off.
She carried with her
the misbegotten and forgotten.
So much so that Mercy became a spare room,
left anything but spare.
Eye to keyhole.
In the dusty golden light,
filtering through the torn paper window shade,
a storehouse of plans, stained and scuttled.
Seatless chairs. Caning punched out.
A dusty hutch. Teapots
cracked and chipped on the middle shelf.
Empty bureau drawers askew.
Receipts for necessities it turned out weren’t.
A flowery, faded, unsigned Mother’s Day card.
The bird cage, cuttlebone scarred and chewed,
still wedged between rusted bars.
Baby teeth collected in an envelope. The bloody gap
in a smile. Soft. Warm. Spongy.
Deserted spider webs glistening
with autumn dew. Secured by silk guy wires spanning
from pole lamp, to dresser, to ceiling fan.
And stacks and stacks of hidden sins.
Obscure. Concealed. Private.
Written in invisible ink.
Anything and everything
that no one remembered anyway.
Just waiting to be pared down.
She would turn her attention to this too.
One day. One day.
As soon as she was ready
to let it all go.
Alan Toltzis is the author of 49 Aspects of Human Emotion and The Last Commandment. A two-time Pushcart nominee, he has published in numerous print and online journals including, Grey Sparrow, The Wax Paper, Hummingbird, IthacaLit, and Panning for Poems. Find him online at alantoltzis.com and follow him @ToltzisAlan.