Monday, September 26, 2011

On a bright day

i have been
callus worn, and callus
wrapped. i have worn
around me,

and seedlike,

Oh wind, oh breath--

oh quick thrill in
every spiracle--
invaded, i am giddy.


i knew you in the trembling
in my roots--

You  In  This  World  Are  Sweet:

 Let me, windwhipped
(Today is bright) -- i pray
windwhipped and damp

and through leaves
pierced and
tender, breathe

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I said Come in

I said Come in, death,
be my friend.
She walks in
like violets,
wearing her spangled

Says Call me not
death. Hangs
that perfumed cloak
over the chairback.

Unwrapped she is
a full figure of dying,
Call me
now, she says,
i will be
now to you


I wanted an end,
a friend, not
this--  Her eyes are
dark gates

Silly little good morning

Wake up to steady hissing
gray sky emitting
interference,  solid static

downstairs bacon spitting
and knucklepopping in
the pan, a rainsound

broadcasts its breakfast smell.
Breathe a harsh black "good
morning" message the

transmits, in

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poetry Is Probably Not An Appropriate Vehicle

o holy
love, each to each
dark gateless sea, you reach
yourself, massless, complete
divine -

oh sing
small soul, an old old
song, wordfull with ancient
gold. Sing ineffable,
sublime -

hangs starbright
a countless thousand light
across my midnight

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter: Haiku and Oddments

Thickness of white.
Only a dark uncertain line divides
white sky from white.


Behind thick snow
cars, houses, valleys, branches:
wrapped up like secrets.


 wit wit! and sickle! 
do ti sol: arrows
streak tree to tree
fierce lyrics, to a drip
a drip a drip
of melting snow

so, wing and throat
warblers, warbirds,
fleet and sing
advance, retreat:
dance (wit wit! then sickle!)
tree to tree.


Snow blows in, starved. Eats
outlines: no trees no road
no tracks no path.Only
snow remembers them: full now,
snow grins (white teeth): oh,
snow knows!

on the way home, mom starts talking

I'm finished, mom says. Her eyes
focus, calm, on the road.
Things have to change. I'm changing
them. I can't wait on his
how --

Outside us cars slide
by, blind machines. I've never seen her,
this woman who knows.
I'm forty-five, she says. I've learned a lot.
She drives.

It's true: she knows,
she's sure. I feel it in me
a square strange organ, newgrown.
X ray it, unknown flesh
of my own flesh:
i need a new readout.

Her sureness settles in
at home beneath my ribbones,
presses, heavy
in my chest.
I push
i breathe.

I am breathing, crying:
i am (newmarried into womanhood)
too old
Too old to learn
this way to be.

Beside me this woman now, somehow,
my mother, she keeps
driving down the road.
She is sure and
not silent.
She says: I've finally begun,
I'm beginning,
I'm getting started.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Sonnet

Those wasted years--the years you grieve,
poured out in bitterness, so many barren showers--
Don't grieve them, but be still. Those seed-
truths you heard and buried, and thought drowned--
Beneath unhope, softly, those Words uncurled
themselves. Spun silver tendrils: tender green
trusts that only now seek out the world,
unwind into shy threads, still tightleaved
and half translucent. See how, tentative,
yet growing bolder, into every hour
now golden they unfold themselves. They live,
they thrive, they leaf out. Believe that they will flower
into full fruiting, every bitter pip of grief
matured to a ripe sweetness of belief.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Skunk

Walking up to the trap, he was striking, in the grey thicket.
Up close his fur was glorious. Luxurious.
It might have made a woman's hat. A queen's robe--
ermine reversed, argent on sable. But he wore his skin
for everyday: it was mudstreaked, stained around his feet.
Already the blood was caking brown, another mudspot 
marking the bullet's invasion of his tiny brain.
Oh, he had a wicked little head, pointed to his nose,
like a weasel, or a miniature bear. Such a pretty,
wicked little head,
and that dainty mouth
full of needle teeth and meatsmell.
My brother says skunks are clever beasts,
like foxes. This one had a clever face, but his black eyes
by then, looked only dead.
Already the stink of his panic was fading.
We tied his feet, like little hands, with a plastic cord
i carried him an armlength away from me
as the smell faded,
and we walked home together, Ben with his .22 and the trapping bag,
and me, and the dead skunk,
such a little weight.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Heavy with intent snow flakes float down
to lose their featherselves into
a boundless, a soundless white. What gentleness
what heaviness
to press the chilly ground
cover the spikedead grass
fill the hills, the small hollows
Snow filling shallows, filling all the valleys
with tenderness
Snow falls
like a mother's hand,
silences the land

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


i thought i left you
but you came running on behind
you witch, you fishhook, bitch
ten mile journey and i find,
i find
can't get you fishhook,
get you
unhooked from out my mind

fishhook was a woman, good god
she was fine
silver woman, silver
she was silver in my mind

fishhook was a woman, she was
less than flesh and bone,
fishhook, won't you
leave a poor girl alone

i said farewell fishhook, i'm leaving you behind
i had to turn and take a look
now you're burning like a pillar in my mind

fishhook on my pillow
fishhook by my side
i beat that witch with willow sticks (lord, i was weak!)
i beat that witch with willow sticks
til i like to died

i said farewell fishhook, leave
my poor mouth alone,
i said i'm leaving fishhook
poor girl,
i want my home
i said, i'm coming mama, and
on my own.

i thought i left you
but you came running on behind
you witch, you fishook, bitch
ten mile journey and i find

i find
can't get you fishhook, get you
unhooked from out my mind

fishhook was a woman
and good god she was fine
silver woman, silver
silver fishhook in my mind
lord, a girl stuck on a fishhook
you know she's got to die

A Story

Once there was a woman who could have no children. This woman knew a little of witchcraft; one day she closed her eyes, whispered a secret word her grandmother had taught her, and spit into her palm. When she opened her eyes she saw, sitting in her hand, a tiny pearly frog. The frog stared at her with pale, blank eyes. Then it slid out of her cupped hand and hopped across the floor, leaving behind it a slick trail that gleamed like moonlight. The woman chased after the frog, but it crept under the door and disappeared before she could catch it. The strings of slime gleamed like strange writing on the floor. The woman thought there were secrets in it, but she did not know how to read them.

The next day the woman closed her eyes, whispered the secret word twice more, and spit into her hand again. This time she clenched her stomach and spit out thick black chyme, sour-smelling and bitter. When she opened her eyes, it had become a tiny green snake with transparent wings. The snake's shining green scales were hooked and bit into the soft skin of her palm; its belly was hot and burned her hand. She shook her hand; the worm spread its soft wings and fluttered unsteadily to the window. It flew out. Her hand was red and hot, and spotted with tiny holes where red beads of blood welled up. There were, she thought, secrets behind the pattern; but she could not understand them.

On the third day the woman closed her eyes one more time. This time she said the secret word three times, very loud. When she spit into her hand she tasted the angry sharpness of blood. She spit out the blood into her palm, along with a tiny round hard thing like a stone. When she opened her eyes she saw that the round thing was her heart. It was black. She pressed her finger to it, gently, and it blinked a dark eye at her. She saw that her heart was like a tiny lizard curled in on itself. The lizard did not uncurl; it closed its dark eye again and curled up tighter and tighter, until it disappeared. She was left with dark blood smeared across her palm. She could feel blood cracking and peeling stickily from the corners of her mouth; and inside her chest she felt the blank spot where her heart had been.


Coffined, I woke. Wide eyed and blind, I breathed. Earthsmell, dank and heavy; woodsmell, faint and sweet. Six safe walls left splinters, hooked little comfort stings into my fingers stroking. O my doorless home, my eyeless box. I called it peace, i dreamed only to lie blind, to breathe unseen. Was it through the nailholes you seeped in, sweet cinnamon?

Wood around me, earth above me: helpless i breathe you now, piercing the damp earth smell, the wet wood smell. My dark home frangible, assailed by clarion cinnamon. With fragrant lemon, heady rose, jubilant tangerine. When I open my eyes, what gateless, what abundant burgeoning?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Holy holy holy, Lord--
My bones cry out, my hollow bones

Over my bones You are
a bitter wind
you make them ache with angry
sorrow, let me alone
let me mourn my own unholy

let me mourn with hollow
bones, let me cry i,
i am unholy

Upon my sorrowbones You are
a crushing torment
Sound and resound: that heavy
Holy Holy
storm, you splinter
my bones

cry out angry, cry out lonely
hollow, now all longing
You break my bones with longing,
now Lord

make me a bowl, fill me