She called it a perfect afternoon
we had just left a poetry reading
and were enjoying our coffees
on a café couch beneath a red umbrella
slightly shaded from the hot Florida sun.

We were reading some of the short ones
from a thick book of Octavio Paz poems
that she had just purchased
to compensate the bookstore owner
for hosting such a fine event.

Very quickly it became apparent
that dear Octavio had a thing for
the word quiver which he used
multiple times across a few of the
early poems at the front of the book.

She said she really liked that word
which of course set me all aquiver
so I had no choice but to write her
this poem that I knew she would like
because it uses a word she likes.

And because she also confessed
she likes the shorter ones the best
I will resist getting too carried away –
unless I have done so already –
and I will end it, right here right now.

Image credit:Thijs Paanakker

I live with my wife, Erica, three cats, and an increasingly geriatric dog named Gus on a tiny suburban spread outside Tampa, Florida. I have a few publishing credits to my name, nothing really worth mentioning.

Beneath These Boards was written on a Halloween night. Yeah, really.

My wife and I wrote the lyrics for Muddy Water Woman; music and vocals are by Wake Eastman, who lives and plays outside Austin, Texas. You can find more of him at www.wakeeastman.com. We put this thing together by collaborating on the Internet. We've never actually met Wake face-to-face, but will definitely look him up if we ever get to Austin. Many thanks to him for the great job he did on this song.

A Short Tribute To The Word Quiver has solely my wife to thank for its existence, who is, has been, and always will be my muse, through good times and bad, in sickness and health, and all those other tropes that we use to describe fidelity. This one's for you, hon. There will be more.