At 4 a.m. it happened again
the drumbeat swiftly, loud-
a single wretched sound rushing
through cold-shouldered pines,
the sleeping woods to pound
against my window.

Now, the night lays down
its secret sadness at my door,
a gift to those who've dreamed it-

the sleepless owl, snow-covered hills
and I, awakened in the near-white
streak of morning.


Happy New Year, Honey!

I've tried to be honest,
even brief like a comb
missing a few plastic teeth-

still functional.

It's all about
what you have left
to give, not how

or why.

Sure, I made promises;
I can remember two
or three of them-

I believed.

Too bad you were listening
and God; that's the other
problem with resolutions-

losing them.

So this year, I've decided
to stay simple and focused
like the proverbial deer

in the headlights...

let's just pray
you're not the one
driving the pick-up.



Now I know,
there are blacker
things than sadness;

the departure of my shadow
steaming in the light
that wounds it,

the recall of a life
too eager to remove
itself from brilliance,

the stubborn
embers of a flame-

now I see the emptiness
of silence, how it drills
meaning through my bones.

What is joy
and who can find it
hidden in the soul?

For now, I listen
to the roses, wait
for signs of my extinction...

a guest whose invitation
is a road, a door, a mirrored
vision of estrangement

like words that
will be written
on my stone.


My stories, you've heard
and sometimes, during storms,
I speak them again, to remind you
of how we were formed-

this is constancy.

In a rusted tin pail
we set by the door,
rainwater collects
like thickened, black oil-

that is tolerance.

And swallows, without grief
or joy, sit stoic and silent
in the water-logged boards
dormant as dusk-

this is conviction.

When morning arrives, pale
as a girl, the world becomes
glistening hills and spirited
open-mouthed birds; this

is adoration.


Sirens (draft)

Fore-warned, of sails
aflutter, fluttering.
Hurry! the river,
its sleepless flesh,


must find
the water's edge.

Of accent, ocean's
clear,symbolic voice,
a moon,a sunken ship,
a tomb and this-

who can bear
my sadness?

Sea-hair roped,
wood,yellowed ash
of marigold and wind

the strength
of bulls,

spiraling wings
of feathered foam,
the bright, blue

that sings like
Phorcys daughters

calls you home.


The Rock

The sands lie down;
a towering rock
the darkness of a house

becomes my heart
in the cradle of sea.

A great hand or
some will against
my own is pulling,

cracking, crushing
bones like an axe

against a tree.

Wind, the ghosts
of sky, the endless tide-
keepers of a thousand

miles above, around me
show little sympathy

for a mountain's child.

These veins within
the stone, the heat
that melts to foam,

break the waves
that haunt me...

assure that I remain
a standing force,
though, separate from

the distant shore
that owns me.



What you remember
your remembering-

the wake
of a plough

clay fields,

seeds slipped

in rows; further
down still...

cool of
the worm

the soil,

the fever

of a fiery


The Hunter's Wife

A woman's chore
is to mend
the clothes
and scrub them
clean; the men
carve the hunted


cleaving it
joist to joist.

A dress I make,
the world I sew
button to hem
like eyelids,
like a perfect

I sing

of splitting seams,
of removing pins.

Between the eyes
of mountains, the hips
of hills, the deer
move graciously then
disappear; the hunters'
aim loosened, torn

like stitches
I have pulled.


The Frozen Woods

I do not move
as often as I should,
snow-laden gate
that bends-
a shattered ray
through water.

To be silent,
or transfixed,
a lesson in loss;
a wall of fog
broken, dispersed
like spoiled milk.

I know what terrifies
the screeching owl,
the shadowed wolves-
stillness of
the frozen woods

and when the breath
of mist and rain
becomes uneven,
labored in
the chill

grey mountains
lay as quiet
as they should.


The Abacus

Breach the interrupted span
come down, shaken...on guard.
A number not unlike a name
is written on the bedframe-

counting each quill wilting
from the shoulder's ridge.

Higher up the ceiling
a flaw- a moth painted
into the flat faux universe
that the landlord built

a reminder: your wings
will not secure escape.

In the evening when
vision surpasses vision
quiet, crisp, clear as
Medusa's face; fixes stars

in their tracks, bends back
light in unatural horror;

the neighbor upstairs
pounding nails into walls
as if to barricade night
outside in its cage-

a reminder of counting
the stages of dying,

each withering quill,
every wasted breath
or nail. You lie still,
memorize the numbers

tatooed on the wood...
the score of feathers



Care, Caution, and Good Judgment (Skipping Stone)

Carefully choose
the even, faceless stone;

study the middle of its weight
train between the wrist and hip,

determine the narrow space
of a skies jaw bone, how

to feed it.

Consider the balanced wave
the fidelity of its surface,


throw like hell.


Drowning In

... the weight of water,
algaed pillars of a moor,
a finger torn to bone;

a boy diving in the lake
touching the bellies
of wood-ribbed boats,

his small hand
anchored there-
a misplaced ghost.

A turquoise ring,
the skeleton of a dog
grown out of shore-

what's left of its hair
matted and soft
and the smell of sea.


A Version of Repair

I would say to you
without a spur of panic
"My effort is a useless page,
a cracked and leaking cup,

a leveled synagogue".

All day I read the clamor
of glamorous things, a version
of contemporary dancing, words
formed like wings and fury,

ecstatic bodies where

the young, loud princes
compete for immortality,
the most precious winnings-
the multi-colored coat

of fame and season.

In a million years my words
will count for this: a seat
on the whitest horse, a silver coin,
reconciliation, a clear voice-

a ticket for repair.

In the corner of the page
a captive monkey stares;
in a forest fire there is
no time for speaking-

so I prepare a new,
unspoiled manuscript.