At First, It Seemed...

Somedays she woke up in a body that wasn't hers.
From a space she'd never been before, a voice said:
I am here to test you. Then, it took her only weapons:

her heart, her mind, her vocal chords.

And like a teacher, its shadow followed her
to the ends of the earth or at least to the corners
of her world whispering I have loved you more

than you are worth.

Glitter in the Sand

Once you were
what I could hold.
I moved with you

like a galaxy that pulls
its silver tail behind,
like tangled seaweed pulsing

with hypnotic rhythms
of the ocean waves,
roots eroded.

But now I have become
what you have made,
an over-sized shell

constructed to protect you;
exoskeleton that holds you
down, delays your exit.

And all that I have left-
calcium, muscle scars
and pearly glitter.

Broken Crystal

In a house with glass walls
and eternal night, my body
plans its escape. There will be
trauma, sharp cuts, bruises
and loss.

I will emerge empty
yet unburdened.

There will be no mirrors
to offer illusions, no doors
locked and bolted. My world
will be essence and wings

and unfiltered light.

But when I leave, in a small
marble pouch, a souvenir of
broken crystal to remind me
how souls survive despite,


First in Darkness, Then the Bud

Here, particularly for me
is a hole to stick my head in.

In sand or gravel, the only thing
that keeps me visible-

what I cannot see
does not exist.

The clock hands wound
and twisted, do not affect me;

the searing sun does no damage
to my tender cells.

How profound tulip bulbs
break open, grinding through

the soil to the surface.


Winter Morning

There is no season to my fear
but I would likely turn it into
joy. Imagine how the red fox lives
emerging from his frozen burrow-

to have survived another day.

Or wolves, their coats powdered
thick with snow, awake to winter
lights that gleam like diamonds
on the ice; how they jump and play

without a plan for hunting.

Even memories of butterfly or flower
whose frozen wings and petals dropped
cannot deface the beauty of the hour,
winter-morning, wolf and fox.


All Miracle

In the morning, I am filled
with all answers the night
has given me. The smallest
light carries its questions
to heart like a silver needle
piercing through thread.

The old women sew long into
the night, embroidering souls
tight into their cloth. I saw
myself tacked to my dreams
like a button threatening to
loose or fall, like a puzzle

all miracle and thought.



Something told you
it was time to go;
part cry, part still
as stone. And the sea
behind you as if you
might turn to float
across its surface-

native to sky, a piece
of horizon, a lone,
black-winged bird.

I loved you. Standing
on the shore, flightless.
Watching your slow, silent
retreat until I could not see
the difference between you,
my heart and sea and air.


Gone White

What will I hold if
I've never held what
I had wished for?

You are my deathbed afterall;

something to keep
the darkness out from
this cold, white room.

Then my eyes closed like penance.

There was a time when
nature made me lonesome,
made you beautiful.

Now, my eyes, adjusted to light
no longer need you.


Wind Down my Heart

The falcon circled wide
and round, his supernatural
cries a testament to what
he is... a predator;

whatever creature small
enough, brave enough
to stir would lead him
down, a rocket earthward.

So like the heart, great
fluttering, swirling bird
winding down, the thrilling
dive, the frenzied hunting.


Your Nature

Silver-speckled trail
of snails or birds.

The way grass sprouts
thin and green.

The dying rose browning
to its edges, leaning

on its stem.

Night prowling in on
furry paws, its sharp

teeth gnashing; at last
defiant towards its gender

dons its glowing yellow gown
each and every morning.

And then, there is your body,
lit up with an inner flame,

to which all moths or women
trust themselves again, again

even as you burn them.


Foolish Hearted

In the middle of my country,
I un-earthed my heart, carried
it in my hands to the sea;

overnight its roots shriveled,
dried like scab on old wounds.

I laid my heart in the sands,
the foamy surf caught it like
a small, pink shell or stone,

floating for a moment, then
submerged and disappeared.

Years went by before I found it
washed up on a lonely shore;

it's roots were long and large,
its body filled with stories,

bloated to the point of rupture
by what it finally learned:

no matter where your heart is,
it knows where it belongs.

In The Name of the Soldier

This is the valley
of the soldier. Skin
becomes the gun. Whose
bullet crushed your bones;

what decent man would
fail to mourn you?

There are doors
on every battlefield;
each one of them an iron veil.

You have gone through yours.

O! green tree lie down
your blossoms wilting,
unfortunate beauty try
your wings.

On a stone, cold
and black as porcelain
your name, your lasting




All through the dark ran
little feet of darkness;

for every star a black
footprint. For every

shadowed step a toenail
of lightness. We dreamt

of wings rushing towards
the flame and called them



She had seen too many dead bodies
and not once did she witness the soul
rising out. Perhaps, she thought,
it was an inward journey-

like falling.

One night, she held the hand
of a dying man. He asked her
"is this what dying feels like?"

When the warmth slipped from
his fingers and his mouth eased
itself into a smile, she whispered-


The Backyard

A man who cheats is like
a yard full of dog poop.


Sweet, glittery day,
you did not recognize me


Here is my bell
ringing, a joyous guest.

Here is my mouth singing
to the rising light.

O if I were a bird
I would fly straight into

your heat. If I were
a moth, I would return again

and again to throw myself
into your fire.


This is me in the rain;
it has been storming
for years. Only the sky

remembers who I am.

I know someday the rain
will stop and my efforts
to forget you will return.

One early morning, before
the weather chooses its course,
I will close my umbrella.


Fanning the Ashes

I have buried you
with the others. I carry
your name that is not sound
on my lips, like a broken cup,
like a dark, vacant corner.

Sometimes at night, I feel
your heart like fiery feathers
fanning the ashes; your heat
rising up in my blood. What love
have I from the warm, vibrant world

while you live in another?

When the Soul Hunts

What black wolf waits
in the grove? He does not
tire of waiting. And so
not unlike my soul, he crouches

down and listens.

He is not alone but is
alone; his purpose joins him
to his pack. My soul a shadow
to other shadows cast and breaking

loosed to capture what is found.

Flowers or Ice

It's time again to be cold.
To cherish the snow that falls
during the night. To liken it to age,

as age does fall silent and white.
But the mind, without season, plays
like a child in every weather, imagines

a day without night, a night without
an impending sunrise- a hand filled
with flowers or ice.


This afternoon, the verses read,
every poet questioning the glare
of sunlight, the black-footed
night, the wild-purple iris
(why are they considered wild
with such a gentle disposition?)

Today I vow to leave my worries
to the air, the fragile frightened
moths who search for freedom,
the struggling worm who works
to move the heavy rocks that keep
him buried. And if I have a soul

today, I'll let it rest, a blooming
twig, a lazy blade of grass, a wilderness
of flowers staring skyward; think of
all the wildbirds in their nests
unencumbered by their knowledge.


Old Coat

Once I told you "we were cut
from the same cloth". Your sleepy
eyes, your father fury, the quiet
blindness of your dreams.

How could I know your threads
were loose, your heart re-coiled
and I was left with nothing but
a child's balloon cut free.

Now I weep and sew, a seamstress
with an old and fading coat
with scissors merciless and honed
to wear another winter though

the fibers never join.

The Underside

It was like this at one time:
no heaviness, just emptied infinity.

When we mature, instinctively reaching
for an anchor, we learn the burden

of gravity- a body falling down,
creatures with wings that were never

meant to fly, the weight of luggage
carried onto the train stuffed with

everything we are; how we pull
and fight to stay grounded.

In the "underside" of weight and slowness
a part of us exists- where shadows flicker,

coalesce, dancing stars shooting through
our universe, more dead than alive,

a tall cathedral where prayers are said,
wingless, weightless and rising.


What Appears

Who am I- what appears
in the window, my arm reaching
for a rose, my heart beating
even in the dark when ears
are closed? In winter, I am

field smothered by snow,
beautiful ridge of ice where
a purple-black crow counts
his feathers row by row,
the falling darkness a film,

a black blanket, a ghost.

Every star a childhood wish
or desperate prayer, sleeping in
their frozen cradles; if I could
hold just one against my breast
I would know: where I came from.


Do You Know Where Footprints Come From?

I have completed
what I set out to do
today... first, I listened
to voices that promised me
struggle. Not everyday but this
day, fog rolling in, the sound
of winter in the distance.

Next, I interrogate the world-
who are you? why am I allowed
to live? Why do you keep me
from sleeping? Apparently, there
is more joy in mystery than fear.

Then the pages open, the door
swings wide. All glittering-white
cold and lovely; not a single foot
to mar perfection's beauty. Take
that step, the voices urge, this
is your life.


The Hunter's Remorse

Snow has fallen; the light has changed.
At work I am silent, my fingers white
and strained. I do not want to be
a creature severed from my nature.

Perhaps we know too much, cannot shake
the wounded games. I too, can hunt
for rabbit, shoot the quail and send
the dog to drag it from its cat-tail grave.

Every night, the quail roasting in the pot
with carrots, mushrooms, onions, boiling,
I remember who I am and miss the speckled birds
whose songs did not survive.

My Injured Falcon

There are voices, distinct:
how can I possibly trust

my sanity when every word
is yours? Come near me

speckled, sparkling like
blankets of snow on a radiant

night; winter's jewels spread
out like a party. Follow me

and my great crippled heart,
my sad, broken mare, my injured

falcon. There is a cliff, smooth
as tar, eaten away by salt and wind.

Here we'll sit awhile and listen,
maybe you can touch me. The body

remembers a bodies touch, releases,
regains it, releases, regains it.

At some point love feeds upon itself
and is left with nothing but the stars.

A Grain of Nothingness

I have thought of you, always,
always, as a grain of sand.

What child's fingers plucked you
from immensity, held you in

an open palm? What sweet foolishness
made you seem a handsome man?

Science skilfully turns one substance
to another or I am silly holding you

above the nothingess, a fleck of stone,
the emperor's robes, the enchanted forest.

I give you back to nature's impersonal
dominion where you quickly sink and fade

to gray. My love is like tempestuous
waves that send you out and away.

The Meaning of Joy

All I have are these: worn hands,
eyes of light, my body's hunger,
my soul's unverifiable loveliness.

And what have I done with this life?

I have been seduced by art, the nature
of birds, the keen faced intelligent
wolves, the edges of the ocean, the mystery

of fog deepening over the shoreline,
the sad, pale face of the moon.

What does it mean to be joyful?

Now at midnight, the strange-dead light
of stars, the rumpled deep throated owl,
moonlight dancing over the lake,

a mirror on fire;

all I need are these: worn hands,
eyes of light, my body's hunger,
my soul's unverifiable loveliness.

Experimenting with Angels

Like so many, she stayed hidden;
like the dead, disguised beneath
their granite stones. Inside her ribs

a gem-like flesh pounded joy,
the music of her distant home.

At night, summer moths flocked
beneath her window, each one
a tiny version of her own addiction

to the flame; wings tattered, burned
could hardly lift her up again.

To most people the world is filled
with longing; to her the darkness
filled with world- ever drawn into

the candle's wick for a single,
simple, catastrophic prayer.


Once Torn

I have given you reason
to turn back; no one
likes himself in the past.

Even nature re-visits
itself, attentive to
the weather's cycles;

a tulip bulb sleeping
unencumbered by history.

You should have loved me.
O how you could have
loved me! Like the blade

of a knife, like a machine gun
on the battlefield.

But this is not paradise;
though the wolves are beautiful
and tender, their teeth are not

strangers to their victims
blood. Once torn, almost
always eaten.

Into Brightness

Of the garden (what garden
fulminating weeds) where once
was frail sprout, white rose
shaded by paternal oaks-

my soul shriveled by heat,
by absent hands and rusted
tools. The metal tongue
of dirt and ore sucking out

life's thick, green fluids;

darker fingers still, shred
the vines, a trellis to another
world. Of memory the plump faced
moon looks down through fog
and rain as if it were a quiet shell

poking through the ocean sands.

Of the garden shimmering in darkness,
beneath its sad and silent eyes,
a seed begins its journey into light
and so my soul climbs its ladder

into brightness.