Friday, February 3, 2017


Back when she had Raggedy Ann red carpet and
baby brothers in their cribs between sky
walls next door, she delighted in
her big girl room.

She’d sing from her depths and swing around her
bed posts.  She was still too little to untrack
hollow closet doors, incline them, and
slide kid bros from bed to floor.

Yet ideas grew during afternoon naps to become 
bridge-crossings on boards leveled toward
her toddler sister’s bed (for whom she
prayed so life would always

hold joy).  They built castles with the new bed but
dreamed in the other until baby sis turned
nine—too big next to teen sister’s
third trimester belly.

None grown among them, the infant didn’t come
home.  After the hospital, big sis slept alone,
ceiling-staring and seemingly idea-less,
lost for the rest of her childhood. 


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Losing It

Marbles roll across her cherry table
late night.  She upset the jar of Earth
azures, goldstones of Mars.  Her dang-
ling fixture spotlights glass worlds spin-
ning across the linen. 
                                    Wrapped in middle
ofthenight aloneness, she jumped when the
fridge hum kicked in and stirred up her calm.
The smith melted silica for her; from his panes
he twisted up spheres, sealing their liquid spirits
inside.  In the flame, storms struck shell to center,
emerald meadows grew under the rain. 
                                                               Their cases
hardened, imprisoned inner things in protection as a
soul in the kitchen darkness scales her skull to escape.
He molded thousands of flowers in domes to save them
from themselves, to freeze beauty in death’s silence.
petals inside keep blooming in their colors—spilled spirals
spread infinite arms, vortices tunnel her core, spun as blood
ribbons swim crystal bubbles, refusing that slow paralysis of
forgotten dead.  And each unsocketed eye sees itself rained on
her wooden floor, losing itself under her oven in the dusty calm.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


He’s downstairs toasting waffles for the kiddos.
She straightens the sheets, gathers his boxers
and her lavender lace to toss in the basket.

Last night he folded her into his chest,
his back against the polished headboard.
A new coupling with its aggressive energy
has nothing on the steady caress of marriage.

Victorian Violet Press, March 2010

Thursday, October 2, 2014


My hill erodes during rain, filling the stream banks with marled
earth.  The great tap roots appear—they’ve grown toward the sound
of smooth stones and foam, wet snake through the ground.
There’s wisdom in my trees.  The writhing and gnarled

arms are old—their legs reach through dirt to drink from the rill.
The forest echoes with sipping roots.  Wings murmur and perch in leaves
over lyrics of splashing wavelets. The floor’s soaked in rain.  Mud teethes
the pebbles that emerge in its gums—so much lives on the bank of my hill.

I am one puzzle piece.  Earth’s living things number more than its sand.
My stream is a strand against the Nile’s width.  But it’s the lifeblood
of this tract.  The greens thrive when it’s stable and gulp in the flood.
We’re all so small, melting in the memory of the land.

We can mire ourselves in war.  We can delight in our small mirth,
but our feet are like ants’ on the lithic face of Earth.

River Poets Quarterly, Winter 2010

Sunday, September 28, 2014


It’s the middle of the night again
when prisoners around me
wrestle themselves down into restless sleep,
when grown men’s eyes leak secret tears
that puddle on the polyurethane,
on mattresses labeled tear resistant
—or maybe it’s pronounced teer resistant. . .
And some men unconsciously clench their limbs
into fetal position as self-protection—
instinctually returning back to the womb,
back to before it all went wrong.

Mom writes me letters faithfully.
She says in her sleep she’s crocheting me
afghans to keep me warm in my bunk.
But I sleep instead in a drawer of a morgue
stuffed and stacked with living men,
half-frozen specimens whose hearts
are slowed at night for security. 

Still she weaves each stitch
from her womb’s ligaments
that once held me under her ribs.
She laces in veins that run through her fingers
so her hands can surround me again. 

Like my mother, I dream in color and dimension,
so I can see her cushioned there in her chair
where she hooks together the textures of home—
looping bows from yarn into rows
of her burgundy rug and chocolate sofa,
twisted with strips of our lit Christmas tree,
jeweled this December in its usual corner.

She comes with the moon to tuck me in,
sliding through bars of my cell.
And she’ll tell you we all need color to thrive,
that every color is her favorite.
She’ll tell you we all need nurture to thrive—
but thriving is against regulation. 

She says in her dreams when she sees me shake
she unfolds over me her afghans.
Yet I’ve never told her I shake at night—
how I scream into my pillow’s thinness, 
how in my cot, I’m cold through my bones,
through holes in my piece of prison grey wool,
like a skeleton stretched with fraying skin. 

The rhythm of daylight can distract me from thought,
from the decaying corpse of my soul’s slow rot.
But at night in the darkness of deprivation,
alone in my head, I shiver in bed
and forget it’s better not to feel
since I promised my mother—I promised myself:
though I’m caged, I won’t change to an animal.  

They have stripped away all my choices,
bunkered me down in a concrete coffin. 
But in my dreams, I’m still three
and need my mom to keep me warm.
She holds me here in the heat of her heart,
treasuring her child like a precious stone. 
My mother has followed me down to Hell.
There she has made her home.   

Red Wolf Press, April 2014