Washburn, Illinois tornado - Poems by Max Reif

With Trump, It’s Come to This

When the President’s mind
is a maelstrom, an abyss,
a sinkhole
into which he seems
to be drawing the whole world,
what do you do?

A mighty battle
is taking shape—
Law and honour against
the undisciplined, lashing winds
from the cyclonic entity behind
that cruel, hard face and body

who came out of what series
of past lives, to amass
such amoral power?

I could call him Antichrist,
but he gives that word
a bad name.
Such a one would not be
so trivial, so shallow,
for God’s sake, would he?

What does the nation,
what does the world do
except apply
all available strength

and then trust that a higher power
is dragging us to the brink for reasons
we may not know,

and that
as England stood alone
in a dark time not
so long ago,

we too, standing now
in the face of this
chaotic brutal whirlwind,

will prevail.

Morning Ablutions

Black and white photo of someone washing hands - Poems by Max ReifCold water on my hands,
cold water on my face—
more of an awakening
than getting out of bed.

Cold water on my hands
awakens cellular memory
of the touch
of a woman’s body.

Cold water on my face
and it feels as if
I’ve just emerged here
from inside my eyes.

This daily communion
is almost more real
than the day
for which it’s preparing.

Cold water on my hands,
cold water on my face.
Anyway, the knight
is ready now
to meet the world.

Domestic Revelation

Desk in home with painting and small Meher Baba photo - Poems by Max Reif Every object in our home is precious,
I realize, wrapping the small plaid “blankie”
around my neck as we prepare
to watch a movie on a winter night.

The very walls that demarcate our space
from the redwood and eucalyptus trees beyond
are filled up with our longing and our love,
almost as if we built this house ourselves.

The mug I drink my tea from.
The paintings on the walls,
our Clavicord, unused these days
and covered with objects
like that fish sculpture
we got at Carmel Beach.

Upstairs, the adjacent wood-frame beds
we commissioned, that let us sleep beside
one another peacefully.

The units of our lives are love.
Home is an extension of our bodies.
It is the body of our union.


image 1: Wikimedia Commons; images 2-3: Max Reif