Monday, November 20, 2006


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Thin Place (Wedding Poem)

My husband would rather watch the swoop of a kestrel
So this is for him

Our neighbor said something was waiting to die
Vultures were riding the thermals
But it figures
He had just taken his puppy
back to the pound

Ugly birds on invisible currents
I stopped during a walk around the circle
And watched them for a few minutes
Skimming tops of elderly tulip trees

I thought of a crow in Yosemite
Imagine wing beats like dying helicopters
His pine cones fell through the night
Bombing our sight and the bear-proof food box

I thought of Alamogordo in May
Watching you run through the wind of a thundercloud
The gypsum was damp between toes
Some one said it was radioactive

I thought of wind in the pines of Walnut Creek
Silence of a stone fireplace
Lone on a hill
Surrounded by high grass and

And all these windy thoughts
Lead to the gray day in October
By a river (which wasn't dry)
And under a maple (which hadn't turned)
We created our own sacred spot
Instead of leaving
To find one

Saturday, November 18, 2006

We Lost Al

Lying on my back
looking at the window blind
dust has covered it since we moved here 4 years ago
I'm thinking of a dead friend from college
3 years gone

I'm looking at you
sleeping and silent
your body is warm
the sheets are damp
I smell the mold growing in our vents
Virginia summers make it worse

ants must be crawling up the front of the house
around the corner
across the bricks
trekking the phone line
I see their shadows through the blind
like a highway from a plane

May 2000

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fire-breathing kids
hear the whoosh of small dragons
see flames on wet leaves

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Awake in the bed
My head is full of scribbles
I want a straight line

Kintla Lake, Glacier N.P.

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Bowman Lake, Glacier N.P.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Target on Monday

A delay at the check out and everyone is tense
To my right, a white haired lady is on the floor
An EMT listens to her chest

I sit Josie backwards in the cart with the hope
she won't notice the quiet commotion
after all
she's pretty excited today about kid stuff:
headbands, ponytail holders, goldfish crackers
a new bike helmet

my cashier is distracted
"...she sat down and fell asleep on the bench and they couldn't wake her up"
I look again
everyone is staring
some people actually have their mouths hanging open
I wish they could see themselves

And I feel it rising in my gut
the warmth around my eyes
the fear of Josie sensing death
the fear of my own death
of dying in a public place
of sitting down to rest one minute
dying the next
to have it end so fast
to not KNOW
but I write out the check
and calmly roll the basket toward the exit
I look again
though I know I shouldn't
the EMT is doing CPR
I see her body, her belly jiggle

at the car I break down
the lady loading her trunk next to me stares
(so rude)
Josie wants goldfish to eat and to know why I'm sad
but I can't speak and sometimes there's just too much
to explain to a 4 year old

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kim -- We were twenty

In November we drove 81 to Roanoke
to a dusty little shop on the side of a busy road
a faded sign read "you must be 18"
we were twenty --
but we thought life had been lived
the sun had set, our time short
you held my hand anyway
through the pain of that tattoo my dad hated so much

It's funny now because
you know what happened --
miles were traveled
with gas tanks full
pictures were framed and hung on the wall
puzzles fretted over and finished
invitations mailed
phone calls returned
schedules made (then followed!)
empty minds became busy bodies
and I should have known we were in it
from the moment
ink was injected under the skin of my wrist
that it would last as long as my heart would beat
seep in and hug veins
until I was living as I always wanted to live
as a woman
instead of as that girl of twenty

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fire Season

we escape the smoke
the lake is cool and cheerful
dad swims the farthest

A Day at Rainy

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Approaching Evaro

Back from a good day in Moiese
approaching Evaro, doubled-laned and dark
a torn tread to swerve around
the splintery tinkle of tires on glass
there's a car off the road ahead, one headlight out

We all pass.

from our gut -- "let's go back"
we turn around, now driving with purpose

she's a small shadow on her cell
platinum blonde in a Stooges tank
cold and shaky, her cat in a travel bag
but feeling sorry for the "poor deer"
we cover her with an old maternity shirt

bound for goodwill

Friday, July 07, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

For all the Moms I've Known Before...(Josie 5.21.04)

A tough diaper change.
(Finally!) the onesie is snapped
Now it's time for pants
but you kick
wiggle those legs
won't let me get your
feet into those pant legs --
I try
and I try
you kick
giggle & wriggle
turn over on your belly
move quick as a cricket
I grab your ankles
give you a flip
Hold you down
(a little too hard)
get those pants
on your teasing legs
Stand you up
Tug pants up
Turn you around
A swat on the butt
you fall to the bed
suddenly betrayed (I try to explain but)
the tears still come
I stomp away
leave the room for
a breath, (then another)
slowly turn --
back to the bed
to dry a tear and
a kiss on the head
an offering of water
& (finally!) a smile
in a short while
we're friends again.

Bea at 9 Months (10.24.2005)

Last night's
left you curious on the couch
Dad & Josie
giggling in the bedroom
Your ears perked up....
"What am I missing?"
You stretched your neck out
a few inches to hear
to try to see --
then you crawled a few inches closer
to the edge
"What's going on?"
"What am I missing?"
Josie came running out
You smiled.
"What am I missing?!"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rock Creek

crisp cold night in tent
birds sing as the sun rises
boaters rush the creek

Monday, June 05, 2006

Native State

Thought the landscape could hold me
lure of the west, some hidden independence

but the sky is not the sky I know
there are no 4 pm summer storms
to leave steam on the streets

I miss red cardinals and blue jays
maples and magnolias
the saucer magnolia
pink petals shedding

the wait for the first firefly flash
and big black crickets chirping all night

handfuls and handfuls of cherry tomatoes
warmed by a hot day, little suns in my mouth

the nights looking into the darkened woods
from a screened porch
listening to the creek
wondering what was out there

Monday, May 29, 2006

Montana Fair

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Summer from Center Avenue

train track as balance beam
railroad ties for hopscotch
a couple quarters down for the 7:20 train

the locomotive's headlight is about a mile away
we hear the ding-ding-ding-ding
at the Shamrock Road crossing
the horn (get off the traaaaacks!)
cars still trying to beat this one
it's always long
we scurry off to the side to
hide in the vines and weeds
wind and rumble
rhythm of wheels
I close my eyes
the final breeze

then the quiet search for our flattened coins
and a wave to the caboose

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Near Miss Haiku

corner of my eye
bike ignoring a stop sign
I swerve like a snake

Saint Mary's at the end of May

leaving the garden plot for a stroll
crossing Turner
you said "it's a forest" I called it shade
we sat on a bench next to black marble
you dancing ring around the rosies & ashes ashes
I was thinking of Aunt Sally and a dream of
collectible coins thrown in the deep end of a pool

we ran up the hill to where the babies are buried
I cried of course but didn't want you to see
thought I'd jinxed my children by even being there
and saw a son visiting the grave of his father
silent in the grass by fading flowers

Old Shed

It was (almost) like watching an animal fighting for it's life
These people had this image of a neighboring Pisa-like shed
You pull on one side, I'll push on the other
we giggled and sighed

Four hours later cracked & groaning
it was hacked & sawed & broken into bits
ugly no longer proud or historical or
"hey look at that leaning shed" or salvaged only
destroyed by some kids with saws
not even wearing gloves as they pulled off the siding
rusty nails popping
the nerve