glean: 1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit. 2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers. 3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly. 4. to gather what is left by reapers.

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February 23, 2016

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TELLING A COMPLETE STRANGER TO LOOK AT THE MOON

On the train I hesitate to then touch
The tired man sitting beside me
To point out the big moon rising
Over Mt. Diablo and the forgotten
Graffitied factories of South San Francisco
And he who like me was nodding
Over his phone, drawing his finger
With its whorled prints unique to him
Down the smudged screen
To refresh the feed gone stale
And learn of horrors missed
While working, thanks me and calls
His wife to tell her to tell his sons
To go out on some balcony in Bernal
Heights and see the moon before
It atrophies and pales into bone.

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February 22, 2016

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ON HEARING THAT THE HOUSE I GREW UP IN IS HAUNTED

Why did they never show themselves
to me these ghosts the woman who lives
there now tells my mother about saying
"Yes Iíve seen them passing through the bedroom
before dawn an old couple in worn clothing
he in denim she in a long housedress" on their way
downstairs to start in on chores their spirits
still waking at the milking hour a warning
to farmers that even when youíre dead
you wonít be able to sleep in "Yes theyíre here
but theyíre completely harmless I donít even flinch
anymore when I see them did you ever see them?"
to which my mother says "No but Iím not surprised"
nor am I who always felt sudden chills
heard strange sounds watched doors creak
open then close found things on my desk I had
not taken out of drawers "Completely harmless"
the woman says turning towards that house
that is hers now that I will never step foot in
again unless I come back to haunt it
saying "The only thing I wish is I wish
they would tell me their names"