By Stephen Mead

No Wrong Turns

One day the bus driver decided to surprise us,
went left instead of straight.  No one complained
much & those who did were gently allowed out.
The rest of us just didn't mind.
I, myself, have always dreamt of such acts of escape:
that orchestra swelling upon finding the right door.

The bus driver was so trustworthy.  
I could tell by his radio: 
Count Basie, Duke, Blossom Dearie & Edith P.
Next it went angelic.  We passed from highways,
from cramped blocks, to woods, rivers, space.

There was a whole star-thick coast,
a cloudbank ocean & then clear black.

Oh bus driver, thanks for refunding my tokens
while being a big juke box.  You know you could have
kept them.  I'd gladly have given anything
to just lose what ran me before you steered me
right on this rhythm of new horizons & landscapes.


Sores on the crab shell, little burns
metal waters leave.
Set a finger on the edge.
There will be a wincing, a jerk.
There will be new flower-layered wounds
very hard to fit a hand around.

These are laced-sea cranes, swan’s membranes,
mercury fish & spore pores of coal mines,
of the food chain fuming mute under a sun
of anger, of compassion.

Why is there so much fluorescence?
Is it the light of depths fathoming
that every living thing can bleed
the same way it breathes?

Tissue connections, pressure points,
soft sheets rubbing…

These are the oceans then, Antarctic-wide,
no No Man’s Land.

Wavelengths merge over fissures
concurrent to where we’ve been,
where we’re going.

Anger & compassion:
our dreams are already there.

The Ghost Goes Home

There is a light glinting, limpid green,
and I am a hostage to that color,
in love with the radiance, wetness 
spills as shattered dew 
captured in close-up. 

Then, showered brightly, I remember 
the sheen: 
A lustrous plant living in the
stillness, the risen textures solidified. 

Here, treasure arms, breath, a 
shudder, genes, old relics, forgotten 

The sea has the same intrigue. 
Facets wash unicorn myths, whales, 
Pleistocene roots. 
It's a romantic realm, stellar, 

Any droplet can crystallize 
pictures in rare air.
Liquid brings clarity. 
Ghostly ripples bubble up. 
Unseen thus, I exist, thawed 
mist, sights traveling, spans 
scanned, returning changed. 

It's a familiar passage, and not: 
gold years cascading to preserve knowledge, 
home, the future rays projected to startle 
what they were.

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