Henri Bensussen


Hometown Alleys

Locks and latches on alley garages
unopened since the town last grew
into the age of automobiles, beads
of glass filling graveled pot holes
lush-leaved fruitless fig over-hanging
a broken fence. Hay sheds transformed
to rentals in derelict spaces of history
numbered by a half and half built.
They stand through time, which somehow
compassionate, and considering
the virgin redwood of their construction,
lets them sag but not fall down.

Showers of Plenty

The hummers are at it again
in the courtyard garden. Stuffing
themselves with nectar, they want
it all. The garden too is stuffed
with growth and Fall’s last flowers,
lush as a gambler throwing his stake
into a last-ditch raise, holding cards
he’s sure can’t lose.

At the fountain hummers swarm
each on one of its eight separate
sprays rising and falling with their
showers of plenty. Drunk on nectar
filled with well-being, they turn
to war, David against David—
to settle for today who rules
their looted, fruitful garden.


A Fine Fall of Rain

The rain is falling finely, she murmurs,
or is it finally? The fine fall of rain
three days of it, and more—

finally, we hope, we’re at an end
to seasons without rain. As one
storm passes, another approaches
solid clouds on the weatherman’s
screen a spread of green covering
the whole state

overcoming for now a heat-sucked
earth here where California charges
forth into the Pacific, rubbing up
grinding toward the ultimate
climax of a fateful affair

no thought to the morning after
finely, falling, in a surge of floods
mudslides, drownings, fault zones
of displacement, corrosive winter
storms breaking through to lay us
down, bare and undefended
full of desire and not yet defeated.