As She Watched the Petals Fall

Roses climbed the red brick wall
to kiss the stormy sky. There,
as she watched the petals fall,

he softly whispered one small
promise of devotion. Where
roses climbed the red brick wall,

with grasping thorns, both long and small,
her guarded eyes met his stare.
As she watched the petals fall

around her, she counted all
the reasons she did not care.
Roses climbed the red brick wall.

A thunderclap, sudden squall,
stripped flowers of his love bare.
As she watched the petals fall,

she heard her father call,
and they climbed the garden stair.
Roses climbed the red brick wall
as she watched the petals fall.

© Michael Fay 1989

Missing Stanza

–And if, indeed, it were you,
I, at loss for someone to be
or something to do,
would simply gaze, not wanting to be free
with pleasure unforetold
and with love, brilliant and intense,
upon your visage, bright and bold,
while around me collapses my last defense.

© Michael Fay 1990

Thirteen Ways to Kill A Blackbird

(With Apologies to Wallace Stevens)


Upon the wintry mountains,
when you see him move,
shoot him with your shotgun.


I was hit, once,
with a stick,
like yon dead blackbird.


The blackbird fell in the autumn wind.
It had been hit with a rock.

A man hit his woman
and choked her.
He then went after
the blackbird.


I am of two minds.
First, there is
the carrion and then
there is the cage.


The snow on the sill
was disturbed by the
blackbird as he begged
to be let in.
I sat and watched.


The thin men of A.I.D.S
die slowly, in pain,
and never dare look
at the woman, but only
at the blackbird in the rafters.


The pounding of hillbilly
upon my ears annoys me,
like the singing of
that blackbird in the courtyard.
Kill it.


As the blackbird flew from sight,
the peregrine struck him,
and carried him back to the falconer’s hand.


A clatterous roar descended
with the blackbirds’ ascent,
and the with the boys, their guns ablaring.


He rode on the street,
going very fast,
and fear took him as he
mistook the blackbird for a child.



The river is moving.
The blackbird is drowning.



It was dark with the coming of winter.
It was snowing and blowing.
I threw out the dishwater.
It hit the blackbird and froze him.


© Michael Fay 1989

The Reaver Never Returns

A lantern hangs from a hook by your door,
swinging in the wind, flickering in the night.
I stand beneath the light, swaying in time
to its pendulum count. The soft breeze sings
in my ears, kissing my cheek. Memories
of your lips linger with the scent of rain.

The steps are slick and clean, washed with the rain.
I shook mud off my boots, climbed to the door.
You didn’t answer my knock. Memories
of our last touch, our last sigh fill my night.
I lean on the door and the bell-chime sings
from the back porch.
I remember that time,

hanging the bells. We lost track of time,
delighting in dancing bells and the rain
of songs around us. In rain, each bell sings
about that day. When I wandered, the door
was left open. I could see, through the night,
the room where you knitted your memories
in scarves and sweaters.

And the memories
in the damp wool around my throat, the time
spent by the fire when I took you for the night
and from your knitting, glisten with the rain
beneath the lamp light. I knock on the door
again. A brave, damp night bird sits and sings
on your roof.

Around me, the breeze still sings
about its stolen kiss and memories
tingle on my cheek. I turn from the door
and wander on. The echos of our time
together mingle on my face with rain
and I fade from the lamp glow into night.

I still dream we are dancing each night,
dancing on the back porch. The bell-chime sings
|n gentle breezes and the regular soft rain
misting down on us. I have memories
and wool. This is all you’ll leave me of our time,
all I have to help me face the unopened door.

The rain picks up as I walk into the night.
I keep listening for the door. The night bird sings,
unweighted by our memories. I wonder if I’m gone for the last time.

© Michael Fay 1994