Two Poems

All Things


Since no one can

tell me

what happens after my heart bursts into flames,

my breath into sand,

my limbs into soggy bones,


I’ll drink this tea,

slurp this cabbage soup, watch the leaves

turn red and gold as they fall

and become a devotee

to all things unknown,


all things that move and weave

under the stars,

all things that glow down here

and force me to believe

that I am not








Doing My Small Part


The bluejay caws at me—

I’m sitting too close to the bird bath.

He sees the water but won’t come down to drink.

After two minutes, he leaves

to find another source. I’m nothing

to fear, bird. There’s no wrath

in these hands; in fact, they’re too soft and clumsy.

They can’t change a starter, nor tile a floor.

They can’t rewire the light switch, or matte

the watercolor. My wife wrings

her hands at my ineptness. On good days, she agrees

I have other skills, but the list

is small: cook breakfast; write a sonnet;

get down on the floor and play with Cloud and Chloe.

I’ve been known to pick up the guitar and sing

a song or two, but that’s rare. I can kiss

with the best of them, so she keeps me around—

thirty-five years this December. Maybe I’ll surprise her

by fixing the sliding door. Or not. Maybe, again, this

poem will be the gift I bring.





David James published two of his eleven books in 2019: A Gem of Truth and Nail Yourself into Bliss. More than thirty of his one-act plays have been produced in Ireland and the U.S. He teaches writing at Oakland Community College in Michigan, the third coast.