Tuesday, October 30, 2012


What kind of flower child did you turn into?
I should have known in middle school
when you told me you wanted to name your kids
after paint colors: Alizarin, Cerulean, Thalo, etc. -
I thought you were nuts but too pretty
to abandon to yourself. And that's the problem.

Everthing has to be beautiful for you. It would be easier
if you judged beauty by perfection or expense
but you loved your grandmother's cheap thing more than my 
eighteen-carat bling, you called it. It has original beauty,
it's lovely because it's ordinary and unexciting," which makes me wonder
about me. What I'd give to know if you loved me for my unexciting nose.

You're lucky I don't have allergies. I'm patient but not -
that - bush on my desktop, too. Not another bird. You hush me:
he's sleeping! I only just got him to eat. For the life of me I can't
see beauty in that naked gangly thing. Or take

the way you leave pastries and notes for everyone in the office. Won't let me
complain about anyone, because everyone's 
special and unique and     beautiful,
and they have hard days too. I started throwing thank-yous out 
before you saw them but nothing daunted you, until this.

How you asked me meekly to open the blinds I can't forget. You never
sighed before, for yourself, but you're wan now and wilted and I can't
remember all the plants but you don't seem to care that Ruby died.
What's the point of life if I can't do something beautiful?

But that's not right. Since the day you were born your face lit up the room
and you weren't even trying.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Seven Scatterings

I. Indian Jew

I will marry a Jew.
An Indian Jew,
with a thick beard,
and dark eyes,
and no history
of women.

II. Heaven

Heaven is my heart
made large enough to love God
the way He deserves.

III. Sweater

There are hairs in this sweater
that look as if someone hugged a dog
a white dog over and over,
up and down.

IV. Leftist

Scintillating leftist flutter
in my belly, shake my leg
and wonder shyly, (angry), wryly
why I cannot bear
to bear another name.

V. Forced 1

Who will toss
and torrent dialed
clefts, the brassy cool dead
after-floor, lofty, whole, no crack.

VI. Forced 2

Pickled belly button magenta
glass, glad eyes, spat laughter,
languor laid in sun on another
stiff pillow.

VII. Padme Amidala In My Dreams

She rolled barrels up the belt 
and stacked them in a pile.
Barrel on barrel, 
barred board 
on barred board,
smiled sweetly, petite
brunette in white, tight flexible

VIII.  Oatmeal

I ate oatmeal for a week,
three times a day,
to make sure 
I wasn't dreaming.

I wasn't. 
But I still can't say.
We can read sentences now.
Isn't it amazing?

Phonics felt impossible back then.

Monday, October 22, 2012


In this lonely holy place
where I have brought but two, I sit
on the stone where a year and a half of layings
have worn away the moss.

A rising heap of rocks. The cedar
with an old nest, anchorite
as ever, leading my eyes upward
as I lean back.

Today, a leaf
long-expected, three years coming, fell
against me, rested.

Yellow birch, pressed in Deuteronomy
now, after one kiss.
Did this just happen?
Word that we are made of, He found me first.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Case Study

It is hard

to take

anyone seriously

who is holding

a lollipop.

Birds and Mammals of New England in the Jenks Library

It is morbid of me
I suppose, to want to pick up
the dead animals under the glass.
The wing-spread belly-up sharp shinned hawk,
the rat-nosed puppy-eared fisher. Blank cotton eyes.
The Northern Garnet, beak bleached wooden
white. Heavy, helpless as a limp chicken.

The terrible moose antler alone
repels me. Separate and pleading
as an open hand.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ekphrasis on Bruce Herman's QU4RTETS

A turned back
invites the viewer in.
into skin
and suit us to yourself,
caked and cobbled as we
are, kicking,
flecked with blood and peeled
wet as color. Pellucid,
wiped clean and yet
not sanitized. Juice pressed
beneath our kindled gaze.

We walk behind you dripping
and you will not look.


It is in fires and floods
most things are lost. What
is underneath? We cannot see,
we did not seal or copy
and it wrinkled, flaked,
God forbid
we forget
this lost effort of a life
of costly things. Royal,
bright as pain, striated
vinegar down a pole.

Bathe up to the knuckles,
preserved in layered earth.


I would not be young.
I would like to know,
sap cloying to my clothes.
Creak and sway in wind,
groan under breath. Over
my head, eight umber
tablets,    angels,    angels’ tablets.
I carved into the smooth side.
I hope you know his name as well
as mine. Benighted, discreet.
It is sometimes the same.

You said to meet you here,
to bare my feet.


He has come into himself more beautifully
than bent head under wing.
Illumined, half erased, past
the bleached bones already.
We wrap you in transparent paper,
ashes. The smoke of something holy lingers.
Composed, rescinded, stroke
the loose skin on your wrist.
“the body dies, the body’s beauty lives.”

He sighs out like a match.

(Quote: Wallace Stevens)

Monday, October 1, 2012

While Waiting to Talk to Cassie, and Later


Behind a row of black oil machinery
he saw me, coming of the men's dressing room,
and said, "I ask no questions,"
which isn't true. Because he does, I'm sure, ask questions
frequently, and sit with them like he sits with his pouting son,
because he's patient that way. And often
answers need to know we care before
they open up.


There were already in this place
three princesses who died lonely noble deaths
and smelled like rose petals
pressed between rice paper.

Lest you think I envy them, I say,
Lose all to the green, the everlasting
honeysuckle song, the stones beneath
your palm, the rollick of the free-born field bug
snapped from the blade by
the slightest touch.

For with backs turned, they step where there are no steps,
and I follow, moth like, their singed horizon.


Apple-brown clouded eye,
lift and entertain my last, my exhale.


If you are not me,
you are very close
to being what I was
at your age. Birds at the top
of the food chain.
Feet flying up to the bar.
Heartsore because
Lady Jane Grey
died for nothing.