Speaking of sons, the Psalms say that blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of arrows,

proving that the potential for violence can be
a metaphor for anything.

Bury your sons to their necks in fertile loam, harvest
the flowers from their throats:

stargazer lilies for ambition, magnolia for dignity,
lavender for distrust.

When I was in the loam, an unkindness of ravens
plucked white tulip bulbs

from my throat; forgiveness doesn’t
grow here.

A friend once told me that the trouble with men
is their mouths.

I’d like to think she meant that, at least partly,
in a good way—

that a few sleepy, red wine-stained kisses can atone
for almost anything,

and that our tongues are essentially benevolent.
I think Richard Brautigan got it right

at the end of his story ‘The Betrayed Kingdom,’
when he wrote:

people need a little loving and, god, sometimes it’s sad all the shit
they have to go through to find some.

A little kindness: that’s all anybody really wants.
Kindness, distractible as crows,

lonely as a frontage road in a non-descript
Midwestern town—

one where the marquee outside the drive-in theater
still reads closed for the season,

just like it has since October of ’86 and the last Friday
midnight showing

of Rust Never Sleeps. And while Neil Young flickered
on the screen,

a young couple in a wood-paneled station wagon
in the back row

inched a little closer, trying to stave off
the creeping autumn chill.