Mar 15 2016

scratching at the surface
of ephemera

Alice holds a doll in tired hands. I want
to smile each time I walk past,
say hello,
but tears always well and my mouth
turns down with the pain
of perpetual forecast.

“This feels like prison,”
someone whispers, and I
don’t think it was me but
old Joe’s eyes dart straight up to mine
and hold me with watery challenge,
though neither one of us knows
who spoke.

I don’t want to walk this gauntlet
disguised as hallway or write
these words
pretending to be poetry,
but here I am
scooting by with my purple sharpie
concealed in one hand.

Hope sits in my purse
next to car keys and kleenex and
crumpled receipts,
though I’ve paid for nothing
and everyone here
will be sure to testify.


Of life and legs
always moving,




to places already been
and never seen.






Mar 8 2016

in the tomb of a room
lined with clarity

i wanted to tell you a story
but all these words
cracked open and bled off the page
all viscous and slippery
and dark with age

i wanted to hold them in the cup
of my oddly-marked palm,
or i wanted to hold you and stand
before that blank cracked distorted mirror
and i’ve forgotten

i wanted to give you something
called everything
but that box always comes up empty
no matter how many times i trap-wrap
and rosette with sincerity

i wanted to line your heart
with soft mirage memories of joy
but there was wool, only wool
all sharp and dry and scratchy
rubbing permanence raw


and again

and the ceiling

the reflection

of holy





Feb 25 2016

a frozen heart
at the center of expansion

She bent down to pick the cat up and tweaked her back again. Another reminder of age, or humanity, or carelessness. She’d never quite mastered the art of physicality, ever clumsy, always stumbling.

Bumbling through life.

Even so, her mind was always dancing, one minute tango and the next ballet, one day a waltz and at night, samba. But it all looked like shuffling to the world outside her body, and she heard the sky’s mocking whispers, even as she pretended ignorance.

Her mom had told her once she was a diamond in the rough, and she’d snorted at that one. She knew what rocks looked like, and what they felt like, too, hitting her body as she cowered in the schoolyard.


That’s the way she’d felt her whole life, and she laughed at the word as she stood at the counter, dishing cat food onto plates from gnarled fingers as she held herself steady on crooked hips. Her mind, flying free, knew it wasn’t true, but even so, her body went still for a moment, long enough to feel the cold seeping up through the floorboards, long enough to see her silhouette blocked out on the back wall, long enough to view the hole that bloomed in the center of her chest.

She talked to her shadow that morning. Sang to it, really. Songs about love and disappointment and remembering. She stood still as the sun shone through the window, through her body, through her music.

the grey cat melted
and stretched in light’s warm puddle
spreading claws and hours

In time.

Jan 12 2016


and we bask in the silence of solitude

birds and branches

sky and ice

that gate that holds nothing





Nov 10 2015

the shimmer tree


i search for beauty in the bones of every skeleton

architecture is the art of building frames

i thought i was a writer once, then i became human

the sky is a cage built for starlings

i am the ghost of my grandmother, re-contrived


all the leaves have fallen now and the wind has moved on

we stand naked in the weak winter sunshine,

refusing the invitation to bend





Nov 3 2015

this land is my land,
this land is your land

I stand on these acres of history, long fallow fields of tears forgotten and brittle reminders of years blown by, remembering how once we grew green shoots of conflict and the next spring plowed them under, making food for the forest of memory we drive through with broken blade, always turning earth, always searching for what we’ve buried. But the worm always works alone, adding air and rich casting to this hard-baked, clay-caked soil, choked with rock and seed and ancient bone. This is my home,  this place where dinner is served at noon and the sky is always hungry. I pose on one foot in the shade of a tree that neither of us ever mentions, a scarecrow of deliverance for the red cardinal who lands on my shoulder and feeds me the coldest hour. Our nests have become identical, and you laugh as you toss broken frame and bent missive in a fit of tidy redemption. There are no berries here, no reward for existing. There is only wind and the silence of everything, whistle warning us through each night.

my skin crackles with
growth and tick tocking question
unanswered roots entwine




Joining in over at dVersePoets for Haibun Monday.



Oct 27 2015

you are the candle

i just want to say that i see you

pouring love onto
the sidewalk
doing your best
every day
to fill in all the cracks

i see you standing there
alone and afraid
and giving
and giving
and giving

burning bright
not just at both ends
but in a circle you’ve drawn
all around us
keeping the darkness at bay

you’ve outrun the odds
and the lot of us
beaten strife down
with the soles of two feet
always moving

taking you places
you’d rather run through
valleys of burden
and pits
of responsibility

and i want
to carry your heart
to the top of the mountain
feed you sun and
silent breezes

wash your blisters and build you
a sky-high fire
to throw enough light
for you to find
your own reflection

i just want to say that i see you


for nana




Today I am hosting Poetics over at dVerse Poets
with a prompt to write a poem telling someone you love all the things
you want to tell them, now, before it’s too late.

Oct 15 2015

hangers on
and hopeful hearts


and the twisting vine

of time

offering no slack

no reprieve

no consolation

but these brief fleeting bits

of astonishing





Oct 8 2015


A week of up before dawn,

asleep far too late,

and the merry-go-round

keeps on spinning.


A moment this morning

of quiet beauty,

an intake of breath,

both of us,


reaching for





Sep 22 2015

heart, sleeve

and it’s always accidental, the discovery of light and hope and love in the midst of deep shadow. we want to be cooler than that, less trite, or at the very least, sharp-edged and angled, dressed in hard shells that cover our scars. we think that’s how to stay safe, how to survive, how to win. we think there’s an answer, when all the food is in the questions, hanging low and heavy with overripe nectar. if we’re lucky, one of them will drop just as we walk by, leaving splatters of wisdom on our long black cave of coat, and for a moment we’ll remember what it’s like to be alive (or at least we’ll forget what it’s like to be less than). the bloom is the destination and the growing is the map. have you ever seen what a tangle of thorn the rose tumbles from?

eventually it all falls down, rotten with seed and ancient mirror.

you must look
for the glimmer
of valor