Poems

 

 
 
JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper

JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper

 

Fireflies

Spill, barefoot, into honeysuckled dusk,

the growing dark so close its heart beats.

Hold your quick breath for the slow,

singular pulse: yellow light against night.

Running, it’s almost always too late;

black gets there first. But once,

standing still, see that glow.

Like when the veil flutters open

and the fractured world assembles

into wholeness – one eternal instant.

Catch it gently as you can.

Let it illumine your human hand.

U.S. 1 Worksheets, Vol.63

 

 
KATHY & GRANDPA, Oil on Canvas

KATHY & GRANDPA, Oil on Canvas

 

My Father’s Desk

Oak grain runs like water in a stream

across the desk. The purl of knots.

Love: like waking from a dream.

A drawer still bears an inky stain –

my small hands: the turning lids, bottles.

Oak grain runs like water.

His script, so long ago, seemed

to leap – the loping loops, exuberant dots.

Love: waking from a dream.

We baited hooks and waited: catfish, bream.

Our voices low enough to settle thought.

Oak grain runs like water in a stream.

Ink still flows across this desk. Reams

of paper. Beat of the ticking clock.

Love is waking from Fear’s dream.

My father’s daughter listens. Seems

the pulse has never stopped.

Oak grain runs like water in a stream.

Love: like waking from a dream.

 

 
CYCLAMEN, Watercolor on Arches

CYCLAMEN, Watercolor on Arches

 

The Poem

Sometimes it’s a bag

I drag around with me,

heavy, slack,

the insides tangled into knots.

I wrestle with them,

shove them, try

to twist them into

loveliness. I rummage

for the singing thing

I’m looking for

but it keeps slipping,

sinking to the bottom.

Other times, it is

my favorite child

just wakened

from a dream.

Her finger points

at air, and then,

the water of her laughter

spills and falls

over me

and all at once

she tells me

everything.

The Cortland Review, 2/2015

 

 
SANTA FE, Watercolor on Arches

SANTA FE, Watercolor on Arches

 

When It Began

At noon, when I came home,

he did not greet me at the gate.

Asleep, I thought. At two,

I looked for him, the usual spots,

then saw his feathered paws

through the dog house door

and thought it odd he was

not stretched out in the sun.

By four, he had not moved.

By ten, the shadows on the walls

were cataloging all the methods

for disposing of the dead.

I went to bed. By three,

the trees against the night sky

had made clear I would not

sleep. I gave up,

found my garden shoes, the shovel,

and began. At seven, I unscrewed

his roof, his walls, and, standing

over him like Lazarus’s sister,

I kept thinking who might come

take death away. No one came.

I lifted him. Only then,

as I laid him down, and shoveled

earth onto his silky ears,

only then did it begin.

 

 
JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper

JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper

 

First Sign

I once knew things I have forgotten:

where to step into the languid creek,

sink my toes deep in cool mud,

at what angle to peer into murky water

to see the swimmers underneath.

I knew to leave them till another day

when, within my cupped hands,

legs appeared along their fishy tails.

After that first glimpse of limbs, no matter

how I looked, the pool was vacant, dim.

But now that I’ve begun remembering,

change begins. Even now, the first sign

of gills along my collarbone. Soon, I’ll be

beyond air, a glimmer in dark water.

U.S. 1 Worksheets, Vol. 64

 

 
WINTER ONIONS, Oil on Canvas

WINTER ONIONS, Oil on Canvas

 

Preparations

―after Robert Hass

If I said—remembering the pyrotechnic scent,

Curls of lemon zest

Cascading from the channel knife—

If I said sunflowers flaming from a crock,

A glow of petals on the tablecloth

In the painting by Van Gogh—

If I said jonquils, if I said the lit side of a gray barn at suns—

Or rows of empty school buses parked on asphalt

On a wind-whipped Saturday in March ̶

If I said cumin-colored light filtering through the window,

My husband’s hands skinning the paper from onion,

Caressing the ridged shells of clams—

Those hands I’ll never have enough of—

(How could you not love a man who makes

such preparations for you?)

Yellow enough to bask in.

 

 
AGAVE, Watercolor on Arches

AGAVE, Watercolor on Arches

 

Turning Back at the Philadelphia Museum

I walk past the guard, into the crowd.

Sullen now, weary of rules, I’ve given up

explaining. She follows, barking at my heels,

“Ma’am! You cannot reenter the exhibit!”

Her voice climbs: “Turn around!”

I keep walking, wondering

if she’ll call in back-up. I see myself

in handcuffs. A space opens in the crowd

and all the people turn from Frida Kahlo

to look at me, the culprit, and I bask,

naked in my criminal moment.

Shotglass Journal, #7