June Song

I wake into the summer light
with summer skin and summer
eyes and breathe the summer’s
perfumed air and wear the sunshine
in my hair; and all around me
summer sings, cicada clicks and
broadtail wings. And evenings
steep in a honeyed glow
that transforms all the world
to gold. And if there is a winter
dream, I cannot find it in this
time when swallows wheel
and all is green and I’m
a wild and summer thing.

When It’s Hardest

In a time of drought
let me choose to love you
the way yucca blooms—
creamy, abundant, soft—
despite drought.
No. Because drought.

One Way to Do It

not reading the book
on letting go—
she opens her hand


I would like to go inside your pillow, hear
your breath and know you are okay, catch
the tears you cry when no one else is looking.
Today, you told me you don’t want to be held,
but I still want to hold you—want to meet you
with gentleness, support. How many years
have I been the one to comfort you, the one
you would run to, the one who could make
things feel better with a kiss and a shhh
and slow rocking of our bodies.
A pillow wouldn’t take it personally
if you didn’t use it. A pillow wouldn’t wonder
what it did wrong or wrestle with letting you go.
I try to invite that softness into myself,
try to transform my woundedness into feathery
acceptance. There is some unlikely magic in this—
a downy inner quiet that doesn’t try to fix anything,
that is content with being soft. And nothing changes,
and everything changes, oh terrible surrender,
oh beautiful tenderness that appears inside this loss.

Now Everlasting

The cotton is starting to fall from the trees
and already handfuls of white cover the ground.
Every year, it happens, this mid-summer snow,
and sitting here, I seem to exist in a now
that includes every summer—a now
of goose honk and bright pulse of cricket song,
deep green fields and whitewater.
I feel utterly tethered to the moment
and startlingly eternal—daughter
of blue sky and swallow flight, red cliff
and low golden light. What is forever
to the cottonwood trees if not now,
this very now when the tiny green seeds
are given fluffy white froth to travel on.
What is forever if not for this moment
of summer when I forget
whatever else I should be doing
and give myself up to scent of chokecherry,
prickle of grass, the unpredictable breeze.


In the corner of the window,
slumps an old gray cobweb.
No longer gossamer,
it holds the spring pollen
in its dull clumpen strands.
At the edge of the web,
a long dead mayfly trembles
in the wind, its abdomen bent,
legs broken and detached,
its wings more cloud, less shine.
There is so much of me
that is dusty and damaged,
so much I would like to clear away.
So much that is spent and dead.
My friend tells me all she can see
is beauty. Though I can’t find it here,
there is at least beauty in the looking
for beauty, beauty in the invitation
to see the world with a lens as open as friendship,
to see myself with eyes as generous as love.


And if it’s true we are alone,
we are alone together,
the way blades of grass
are alone, but exist as a field.
Sometimes I feel it,
the green fuse that ignites us,
the wild thrum that unites us,
an inner hum that reminds us
of our shared humanity.
Just as thirty-five trillion
red blood cells join in one body
to become one blood.
Just as one hundred thirty-six thousand
notes make up one symphony.
Alone as we are, our small voices
weave into the one big conversation.
Our actions are essential
to the one infinite story of what it is
to be alive. When we feel alone,
we belong to the grand communion
of those who sometimes feel alone—
we are the dust, the dust that hopes,
a rising of dust, a pitch of dust
the dust that dances in the light.   
with all other dust, the dust
that makes the world.

White Water

The day is a stream
and your love a blue canoe;
there are rapids
around the corner
and all I can do,
unskilled as I am
in reading the waves,
is paddle with fervor—
terror in my gut,
and this goofy smile
glued to my face.
Tomorrow, perhaps,
the stream will be calm,
but today
the white roar of chaos
crashes all around,
rocking and tossing.
It does no good to pretend
life is anything but what it is,
so I paddle, I scull,
and I may not be dry
but dang, I’ve never
been so alive, my arms,
dripping in diamonding light,
our lives at stake.  

Just because we cannot touch a rainbow
doesn’t mean it does not exist.
And just because a rainbow is predictable—
sunlight bent in a water drop
at an angle of forty-two degrees
and separated into all its wavelengths—
doesn’t mean it is not a miracle.
How many times have I been unable to touch you,
and yet I am certain of love.
And hasn’t a downpour taught us
to see all our own colors,
shown us how to bend to the world
in ways startling and new.
And isn’t it strange, how love
keeps shifting, changing place,
moves even as we move,
all the while shining, astonishing us
with what a little light in a storm can do.

for “the lucky buyer” who “went home with a certificate of authenticity” for an “immaterial sculpture” by Salvatore Garau

What could be more valuable
than nothing? The nothing that
frames “The Thinker,” the nothing
that holds every bowl,
every vase, every bust, every thought.
Let others buy the clay, the steel,
the papier-mâché. I will be satisfied
with nothing more than nothing.
Nothing pleases me. Nothing
enchants me. Nothing,
as Heisenberg says,
has a weight. Just think
of the space here beside me
where you are not.
If someone asks me why
I have a five-by-five-foot
empty space taped off in my home
with a plaque that says I Am,
it is because I am so in love
with nothing. Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

This poem was published in Rattle’s Poet’s Respond on June 13, 2021

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