From The Presence of Love: Poems Selected and New by Michael Duffett

A Tie That Binds

My dog chewed a Jerry Garcia tie
But I still wear it, shortened by a stump,
Its colorful and intricate design
Unspoiled by Billy’s teeth and jaws. Jerry
Gave it to a college friend of mine
Who was for years his manager and I,
Gratefully alive now Jerry’s among
The dead, wear it not only in his memory
(Although I never met him) but to record
The intersection of life and death
Symbolized by (no pun!) a tie that joins
Dead Jerry to a living Billy
Who continues to cavort with all
The energy of Jerry among the dead.


Hawk’s wing shadow moves across the foliage
Against a backdrop of imperceptibly shifting
Cumulus-nimbus clouds, indicating, but at a rate
Our minds cannot perceive except by thought
The rotation of the globe. Blue jays clamber
On an overhanging branch and the upper leaves
Of an adjoining apricot tree rustle in the wind.
A half moon peeps through the summer blue
And as the clouds settle on the horizon
The wind picks up, freshens, blows a hint of cold
To be felt only at midnight black.
The petals of the tiger-striped daisies
Begin to close, to fold up and huddle
Against the inevitable encroaching of the night.

Poems © Michael Duffett, 2019