Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Barrens

Under lights strung taut across unthawed lots,
we brought our tragedies, ribboned in red.                             
It’s the happiest season, they said.
So we flooded the lines among aisles of pine.

But as funds dried up, we paid with our quilts.
Then lowering heads down fog-full streets,
we dragged home firs, trailing boughs at our feet.

Seeking heat we cooked trunks in barrels of rust
which turned ruby the throats of the lonely among us,
cheeks bursting blood in a fiery flush.

If our flesh were scalded raw,
if blood dripped thin along our fists, 

who would ash our decay once our souls flew away?




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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Clothespole


Mom used to spin around the stem of our old clothespole,
except as the paint dried at the first stirring of springtime. 

Grandpop strung rope from garage roof to porch hook
so grandmom could shake out the clouds of socks and towels.

He built our homestead which still stands after decades—
though he’s long-buried, a hero in our mirrors and frames.           

Grandmom used to pin me too to swing from her lines
in the cirrus shapes stretched with the wind flowing flags.   

Circling that clothespole in grass dark as pine,
Mother and I, both in our times, scaled the air to touch
the sunshine between us and abundant depths of sky.




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You at the Gate

Should you ever decide
to stop by the house,
you’ll find me
where you left me
when you drove away.

Here on our porch
for much of the night,
I turn cigarettes into piles
of ash and sit
rocking,
rocking—
you’re
out there
somewhere.

Though the summer dust freezes
under snow globe glitter,                    
it will rise again when
the heat returns.

Maybe one day you’ll hang
that left through our gate
and rattle up the gravel
in your teal Toyota.

I’ll bow my head
in your neck
your gentle frame in
my tingling arms.
I never really
deserved you anyway.

I know I was the faithless one:
betraying our rings,
believing their lies,
raiding your drawers
with my distrust.

You collected your things,
but mine are still strewn.
I can’t seem to fix

what’s so thoroughly broken.





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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Shadow

The shadow of herself laid her down
but never woke her back up.  Then it
escaped like prayer through windows
into the night airs where fireflies hum
their nocturnes and lure each other in.
May punishment for sin never extend
to the faultless among us—youngsters
burying their mother should run freely
without her, flying like prayer, without
a burden, freed from all her complaints,
greed, a damned demand for resources.
But her shadow carries them when they 
fly like fireflies, to find their own peace.


Outsider Poetry, January 2017


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Canary

 Fake flowers and liniment bottles don’t rot
though decades back their owners last left
the locks unturned. 

Now explorers scatter dust and feathers,
searching dates in piles of papers
under a caged upturned breastbone.

A song long ago slipped its wires,
burst the sofa window, dissolved into
ocean of wide open sky.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Bridge

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. 









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