Dobie’s Desk

Dobie’s Desk

Sitting at this desk, I wonder
whose words will emerge

from the stained wood,
its whorls and cracked surface

detailing a specific language
of the inert and precious.

Earlier I rapped the cistern
to verify water level,

and a week ago startled
a cottonmouth sunning its lengthy

self at the crossing. The door
just blew open, perhaps,

or a ghost wished to offer its
voice, neither malice

nor approval imbedded
in the gesture. History

shadows me despite my best
efforts. I walk, drink water,

write, think of friends left
behind or gone ahead,

reading between the grains
and dark spaces, looking for rain

in the blue, for light and benediction
and the secret poetry of furniture.




It might deceive.
Or like a cruel

window, live its life

offering a view
yet reserving the taste

for another’s
tongue, ignoring

even the wind.
The roots, as always, look down.

* * *

This first appeared in Ijagun Poetry Journal in December 2013, was featured in poems2go in April 2016, and is also included in my micro-chapbook, You Break What Falls, available for download from the Origami Poems Project:


Galveston, 1900


Galveston, 1900

First the wind, then a tide like no other
uprooting the calm,

a visage tilted back in descent
as if listening for the aftermath.

And later, the gardener’s lament
and the building’s exposed ribs,

light entering the eternal
orchard, nine children tied to a cincture.

Not even the earth could retain its bodies,
and the sea remanded those given to its care.


“Galveston, 1900” first appeared here in January 2015.

Buddha’s Not Talking


Buddha’s Not Talking


He looks out from the shelf while I consider
manure, sharp knives and the hagfish’s second
heart, or whether odors differ in texture when a dog

retraces his steps through the park, and do they really
lose themselves or just quickly shed their pasts,
forever moving towards now. Sometimes I say hello,

but truthfully we seldom interact, unless I bump his
shoulder when retrieving one of the books leaning
against him, and then it’s only a quick “sorry” on my

part, and a stare on his, perhaps a slight nod if
I’ve not yet had coffee. I fear I’ll never grasp
the difference in having and being, that my true

nature has splattered on a trail and the dogs will
sniff it and lift their legs in acknowledgment,
or perhaps acceptance of the infinite, with wisdom

far beyond my reach, before moving on to disquisitions
about soil and fragrance and the need to justify art
with decimal points. Yesterday I roasted chicken, moved

books, sipped ale. Today I’ll sweep, discard papers and
wonder if I’ll become what I think, whether reincarnation
will be cruel or kind. Either way, Buddha’s not talking.

* * *

“Buddha’s Not Talking” first appeared in July 2017 at Blue Bonnet Review.
With gratitude to editor Cristina Del Canto for taking this piece.

Shadow’s Tale



Shadow’s Tale

If I call,
will you

left unwritten

like words
we see
but don’t
read. Signs

fade then
and the oaks

in the still
No rain

again. If
you call,
will I



“Shadow’s Tale” first appeared here in June 2015.