While sautéing onions

in the warm kitchen

I find myself on a tire swing

arcing through fields

of night—

is it the sound of crickets

or the pungent scent

that makes me cry?




Who said your real voice is not the choir?

—Steven Nightingale, “Who Said, Who Decided, Who”



and if you are not only the melody

but also the baseline, the harmony,

the descant, then who’s to say

you’re not also the quarter rest,

the fermata, the coda, the clef—

and perhaps you are also

the hand that wrote the score

and the woman who loved

to take that hand in her own

and wander the halls toward bed.

And perhaps you are also the rumpled

sheets, the ones that never made

it to the choir, the sheets that fell

to the floor while the notes

made their way uncomposed

into throats of the singers,

the air full of such improvisational grace

you’d swear the angel choirs

were singing, too.





By the time you wake,

the day is already a question.

Whatever declaration there was

in your dreams has already

curled itself into a question mark.

No matter how you wrestle

with the punctuation—try,

perhaps, to straighten it

into an exclamation or crumple it

into a period—regardless, the day

insists on being interrogative.

And why shouldn’t it

insist on being a curve

like a river bed,

like a nautilus,

like a naked breast

beneath the ultrasound—

nature despises a straight line.

Now what matters

is what always matters—

how will you meet the day?






One on Discouragement




just ask the bindweed—

the more someone tries to destroy it

the more vigorously it grows




Darkness lands in my lap

on all fours, curls up and purrs—

I learn to miss

its weightless weight

when it leaves,

learn to be more still

so it will stay,





Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

One Revelation




turning the last page

of our lives, perhaps then

we finally get to read

the glossary to see

what all those symbols meant

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