FREE STUFF The free stuff on the sidewalks isn’t free. Besides the obvious – repairs and freight – there are costs that we don’t calculate, associated with coming to be some household’s used, discarded property. What history, what chance, what turn of fate has led these items to this fragile state of uselessness? What scars can we not see beneath the stains and scratches, dust, and wear? What dormant bits of ghosts are creviced there? It’s hard to see, amidst our current need, or vision of a project, whether care has gone into a thing, or if the seed of something else lies waiting to be freed.
ALONG THE BEAR VALLEY TRAIL Point Reyes, California The lichen hangs in tatted bunches, seeming fragile, though the breeze can barely sway it on the branches of the lower trees. And while there are some lonely tufts, most of what is on the ground still clings to branches stronger gusts, some time ago, have downed. And some spreads flat on fallen, lifeless trunks, or stones set in repose, to patinate the lifelessness with something that still grows.
David Rosenthal lives in Berkeley, California, and works as a teacher and instructional coach in the Oakland Unified School District. His poems and translations have appeared in Rattle, Teachers & Writers Magazine, Measure Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Raintown Review, Sparks of Calliope, The Rising Phoenix Review, and many other print and online journals. He has been a Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award Finalist and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. His collection, , The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things, was released by White Violet Press (Kelsay Books) in 2013.