Let's say a person took words
at a table. Let's say I was
his priestess, Henkel in hand
(the weighty one with the silver vein
down its back).
Would it need to be chanterelles
every morning, and the expert chive
scattered just so...
would he require veal
in the evening
(though veal makes me weep)...
would he settle
for the common wineberry
or would I need to import
the lingon (I don't even know their season)...
would he prefer his wine dry, or sweet
(I drink sweet alone).
And after the last draught
was taken, the last ridiculous
little chive on a silver tine,
would he linger for a song?
In my book
we can be
I, a bus, with double layers.
You, a booth, perpendicular
to the sky.
As I drive by, we will peer
into each other’s
While the mourning dove
is still sleeping,
before the sun can waken her,
I kneel beneath the mulberry tree.
You will know this without me speaking
when you open my stained palm.
I have missed the mulberries.
Just you and I,
let’s button (and unbutton).
The Watching ☊
If memories were sparrows,
mine would gather behind
a house half finished aluminum
sided against the landscape, windows
glazed from the inside out with smoke
of cigarette and venison burning.
They would crowd in lavender lilac,
above the intersection where each year
a robin laid impossible blue eggs,
one of which it seems would always
break, sully the perfect roundness
of a mother's mud-patched efforts
to prevent a deadly cracking. Sparrow
memories would rock limbs, tremble
leaves, blot out the threat of rain
while brown haired girls peered over
rim of tight worked straw to watch
a miracle of twin eggs coming to birth.
Return to Sloansville ☊
I close my eyes
blot out one hundred
and fifty shale driveways
pickup trucks, Ford
pintos, trailers barely
tied to this ground
by wires, gas lines
I can still see
dirt road, Queen
Anne's Lace, goldenrod
field mice nesting
under leaning timothy
and the apple orchard
rooted beyond tall firs
where a woman
in navy sweat pants,
red Budweiser t-shirt
is just now hanging laundry
to drift upon the wind,
sing with ghosts
of spring white
At the end of the Sound,
where the pines have been pushed back
by an unrelenting salt wind,
you will find that jingle-shell beach--
where little cups of pearly lemon peach
stretch out endlessly. Put your hands
to them and you will not know
where to stop.
So much beauty,
so much unrelenting jingle-chiming
is tangled shirts
the hem of a skirt
in the brass button
of your jeans.
Lunch at Grand Central
She saw it happen,
The heart, all hooked up.
He nodded as she gestured
to her chest. The lungs are here,
she said. And the heart is behind them.
Yes, he seemed to know
all about it. They do heart surgery
through the back, he said.
She did not deny it, just went on
speaking of the heart’s troubles,
never stopping to consider
the actual point of entry.
Meet Me in a Minimalist Poem Where We Can Wear
What to do when a best friend's husband dies
on the eve of your little girl's birthday...
Hang up the phone, lean into the counter
in a kind of conscious faint. Moan.
Moan, a deep cry that comes from a place
you didn't know existed, tremble
and feel the ice cold sensation that begins
rising and falling within you
like Northern Lights
shimmering up and down
a midnight sky.
Take out the black-handled
Henckels and a yellow onion
and chop the pearly flesh into perfect
little squares. Mince the summer
garlic. Scrape it all into a cast iron
pan. Add dried oregano, because you can't
think about harvesting right now... the fresh
oregano just outside the kitchen door.
Turn to the sink and begin. One glass,
one dish at a time. Watch the suds play
at the edges of cobalt blue, fall onto
stainless steel, slide down the drain. Moan
again. A labored moan rising to a muted wail
(you dare not wake the children).
Curse the maker
of lawn mowers. Beg the man
to come back and this time decide
upon a nap instead of the simple exercise
of back and forth on green, where he has
fallen. Did fall. Ask God to turn back time,
if only for this one whose heart has failed
him. Let it not be so, that he has
Turn off the pewter faucet,
the blue flame. Put wilted onions
and herbs in the bottom of a crock pot,
where they will have to wait until tomorrow.
Flick off the recessed lighting.
Go up red oak stairs. Sleep,
a dreamless sleep.
In the morning, sing happy birthday
to your eight-year-old. Kiss her on the
cheek and forehead. Hold her to your
heart. Give her the black-handled scissors
so she may go out into the green.
The birthday sauce will be needing basil, fresh.
And she will go out skipping,
snip it for you at the tender neck.
Put it in your hand with soft, round
fingers. Toss her head, and smile.
It is a slow arousal--
the rain, and how it moves
across the earth still sleeping.
How it reaches rivulets
into myriad cracks, holes,
gaps that winter forced.
The rain slides in, everywhere,
swelling, and the earth
awakes, absorbs and rejoins
itself to itself.