Spencer Reece


At Thomas Merton’s Grave

We can never be with loss too long.
Behind the warped door that sticks,
the wood thrush calls to the monks,
pausing upon the stone crucifix,
singing: “I am marvelous alone!”
Thrash, thrash goes the hayfield:
rows of marrow and bone undone.
The horizon’ s flashing fastens tight,
sealing the blue hills with vermilion.
Moss dyes a squirrel’ s skull green.
The cemetery expands its borders —
little milky crosses grow like teeth.
How kind time is, altering space
so nothing stays wrong; and light,


Monaco was clean, with small clean streets.
There was not much in the way of  a shore.
There was hardly any place to go.
One clipped, well-behaved London plane tree,
not welcoming like most ordinary trees,
was kept apart by a white spear-tipped fence,
and had a somewhat diffident sense of  noblesse oblige.
Through the cream silk brocade window treatments,
you could see it; it did not contain birds,
repelled the idea of  nests, its roots
trained and snipped. At night, it was lit.

The Prodigal Son

In Miami, this May afternoon, I look up,
the sky hot, so hot, always, and heating up hotter —
how long I have loved this scene.
The clouds are white optimistic churches;
I cannot number them.
Herons, pelicans, and gulls glide like dreams
through cloud-portals, cloud-porticos, and cloud-porte-cochères
Giotto could have done with his passion for blues and dimensions.
Hard not to love a place always called by possibility.
Nearby, Cuba is singing and somewhere here
Richard Blanco is writing his poems.
As I enter the city,