Two Poems

A Partial Life

Love and hatred, the tragic and the comic
Harbor pulsing emotions.
The urgencies of our living, however blemished,
Give us purpose.
And yet we largely live in the self-starvation
Of indifference.
Better to be a passion-rotted plum
Than a prune.



I found an old picture of myself
at five: eyes earnest but unfocused,
muscles hinting at their presence.

Over time, the things I focused on
Narrowed the avenues to my acceptance
And put my muscles to work for others.

Today’s photo, with squinted eyes
and hardened mouth would be
unrecognized by the boy.