Read Lynne Burnett’s “As I Think of Kelp, How It Lies in the Shallows.” One of the loveliest poems I’ve read this year!
But what of this notion
of the romantic?
It rained last night.
I could smell it
before it fell,
each drop a perfect
sphere until the final
is fact, impractical but
lovely for its truth.
* * *
Initially posted here in January of 2014, the poem was published many years ago (30?) as a poetry postcard offered by the literary journal Amelia. I admit to being wrong about the shape of raindrops. But hey, they start out spherical…
Dead Rose at 5 Points Local
(A collaborative poem written with Stephanie L. Harper)
Having plucked the disheveled
petals from the core,
for the dead to speak
of last week’s sweetness—
of damp upholstery
and worn-out shoes,
of locked chests
and the faint honey
of unrealized hope.
I twist the stem;
I quarter the seeds and
blemish the plate.
Which north rings true?
bridge reveals the lost
Our ice cubes clink
no answers, as the essences
of hibiscus, lavender,
and mint slip over my tongue,
concealing the cool
tang of her demurring
But when she says whisper,
touching her lips
with an index finger,
I hear distant trains
baying like wolves,
and smell the char of nights
trailing the undiminished
river, its waters flowing
in every possible
* * *
“Dead Rose at 5 Points Local” first appeared in Formidable Woman Sanctuary in November 2018. For the story behind the poem, click on the link.
A Step Closer
The difference in here
and there, a step closer to infinity
swallowing the clover and wild onion.
Not knowing, you shift purpose to intent.
Following the sun,
the flower sips light all day,
pausing only when I walk between.
“A Step Closer” was published in Sleet Magazine in August 2018. I am grateful to editor Susan Solomon for taking this piece.
My poem “Who Will Know” is live at The Local Train Magazine, a new publication out of Bangladesh.
My poem “The Most Intimate” is live at Poetry Breakfast. Thank you, Ann Kestner, for taking this piece.
Driving to Work, I Pass Myself
Some days the drive takes twenty minutes,
on others, thirty or more. Seems I might pass
myself on the right morning if time flexed its
biceps or looped me into a dimensional shift
thick with donuts and tires and lost minutes.
How odd it would be to wave and say “see ya,”
knowing that tendered frustration grows in
distance, until it takes over the entire mirror.
Looking back, I see my frown diminishing
to a lone point in that shrinking van at the
hill’s crest. Will we meet in the parking
garage? Should I wait? You know the rules.
This first appeared on the blog in March 2018.
How convenient to carry a home on one’s back, I
think, disregarding heft and plumbing and the shape
of rooms too hollow to feel. Yesterday a box of African
chapbooks migrated to my doorstep, and I plucked
yellowing leaves from the tomato plant by the poetry
shack. Marine snails constitute the majority of snail
species, but we count first what we can see. Everything
turns–the days buzz by like male blackchins swooping
through their pendulum air-dance, and I tally my
diminishing hours from the safety of these walls.
Heliciculture is another word for snail farming, but
reminds me of stars spiraling wildly above my roof
each night, spewing poetic fire throughout the cosmos.
The neighbor mows her lawn and I observe the wind
stepping from treetop to treetop, another sign of the
earth’s continued rotation. Their slime permeates human
cosmetics to minimize premature skin aging, and was
once used medicinally to soothe coughs (I write this
as mucus slides down my throat, a response of the
lung’s filtration system to histamines). There is much
to consider about the intricacies of harvesting slime.
Most snail species consume plants, but a few are
predatory carnivores, which leads to questions
about their prey. Cooked in butter with garlic, served
with a dry white? I spear one, contemplate texture
and move on to the next, leaving behind no visible trail.
* * *
My poem “Snails” was published on Vox Populi in October 2017. Many thanks to founder and editor Michael Simms for giving this poem a home.
The Body Gives
Sometimes the body gives too much.
A tendon frays, the heart mumbles
and no one sees the damaged parts.
Ignoring pain, we continue climbing ladders,
sandpaper breath rasping the morning light.
Little bits of us crumble all the time,
yet we stumble on, pretending.
Then the body kills us with its enthusiasm.
Cells duplicate wildly, plaque explodes.
This enmity within? Defensive maneuvers.
Working alone, I wonder where I might end.
On the floor. In a field. Atop the bed.
Under the surface of a rippling pond
or drifting with smoke
through a snow-clad afternoon
at eight thousand feet. Among
the grocery’s tomatoes and squash
approaching the end of a long list.
At the bar, glass in hand, or in a truck
at a four-way stop, the radio blaring.
Time enough for speculation, they say.
But I wonder: when I jump,
does the earth always rise to greet me?
* * * *
“The Body Gives” first appeared in The New Reader Magazine, in March 2018.
“My Mother’s Ghost Sits Next to Me at the Hotel Bar” was first published in The Lake in December 2018.