A Column of Smoke

ghosted west to the sea and I missed my off ramplike most of the others who prayed to the fire godsoh please, not me, and I saw from a distancethe mean residue of burnt chaparral andblistered black trees, the carports and cribsof suburban tribes who fled with heads downfrom their choked memories and the burnt-out… Continue reading A Column of Smoke

But I Heard the Rushes

You didn’t hear the breeze through the rushes—the sifting sound, like sand through your hands— or linger for a breeze to come againto hear them whispering and feel their hushes as calming as the ripples in the creekthat washed around their deeply secret feet. Voices that the towhees heard—and me—once upon a morning, like a… Continue reading But I Heard the Rushes

Of Shortened Time

Mine to have but not to keep—the long view, looking out at time,the future from a mountain top,the grand vista, the view non-stopof lofty peak and far outcrop—the only limit was the climb. I owned the possibilityof what was on the other sideof any hilltop, any year,across an ocean, beyond there,the future huge and little… Continue reading Of Shortened Time

Crossing the Street on Wing

There's something free and airborne in this child—she flings her arms and spins when she moves,hands arched and reaching for the sky,hair blown like feathers on a breeze,flying to a destiny up high. I hold a wing to save her from the wildand heedless world, though it’s a brief favor—the restless hand she's briefly granted… Continue reading Crossing the Street on Wing

An Old Woman Answers

Ask me my age and I'll tell you to startby counting the smile linescreasing my face;when that’s not enough,the cracks in my heart— sure, you can’t see thembut here in my chestthey ache like broken bonesfor old loves, for all the lost mothers,all the dogs gone; count all my gray hairs,count all my scars—the purple ones, too,where babies once… Continue reading An Old Woman Answers

Election 2020: An Allegory

It was a bloodless kill—the copper hammer barburied like fate and still gripping his flattened neck.One quick snapof an old wooden trap, the word “Victor”painted bright redjust below the spring and the trip hanging loose,the rat hanging dead.His eyes were black as unlit lamps,their fuse burned outin the metal of night just after we twistedthe… Continue reading Election 2020: An Allegory

Something about a Boardwalk

reaching over a salt marshthat invites me to hoverabove the great tangle of earthlike a mote that floatsover the madness. A bit of architecturethe forest offers of itself surrendering its sun-bleachedcedar smell up throughmy pilgrim feet, the perfect warmthof horizontal planksfragrant as the woodin a Swedish sauna whereI huddle naked, small. Here a mallard paddles… Continue reading Something about a Boardwalk

Lesson from a Giant Swallowtail

I've been expecting himsince his mother scatteredhurried shadows overthe orange tree two weeks ago.Still, when it comes, his reveal is sudden as the lightning boltson his velvet wings,the morning mist nearlyconcealing his midnight black,his Fred Astaire elegance. But this is 2020, a yearthat staggers to the endholding its head in its hands,and even his butterflyperfection… Continue reading Lesson from a Giant Swallowtail

Not As Much Need to Sweat from the Fear

Before it was fire, acar accident, a plane crashen route to Australiamade sense to invest with adrenaline,pounding heartbeat, withpersonal sweat andmisguided belief. My worries fed upondistant statistics,remote possibility,apocalyptic, until they approached mewhere the street ends andwere reintroduced asmy long-lost friends dying to meet atthe grocery store,planning to greet whenI breach the bus door, and I… Continue reading Not As Much Need to Sweat from the Fear