One Flying Lesson




pulling the rug out

from under my own feet—

who knows where I’ll land next

Time for a Change

with thanks to Alan Cohen



rearranging the furniture,

that works for a while—

what the heart really wants

is to take out

the walls

La Petite Mort



Raven me, river me, tremor, deliver me,

pink me, tall drink me, unfurl,


canyon me, plunder me, lightning and thunder me,

tide me, tsunami me, curl,


rob my dark berry, my wheat field, my mango,

wring from my cloud all its rain,


unsmall me, outsprawl me, earthquake and enthrall me,

undo me, unwho me again.


title and poem inspired by Jack Ridl



But if you were, you’d buy one of those thick rubber mats

and spread it out in the living room. You’d invite doubt

for a match. You’d shift in your corner from foot to foot,

crouched like a hunter, arms flexed, legs spry.

You’d stare doubt in the eye, that heel, and wait

for the ref’s bright whistle. The rules are not real rules.

Doubt doesn’t stand a chance against you—

not with your choke slam, your dropkick,

your iron claw, your pile driver. You

with your full nelson, your moonsault,

your flapjack, your guillotine drop. You’ll have doubt

on her back, begging you to stop. You smile at her

as the ref leans in, then snarl, then smile again.

You’ll let her make the first move. You’ll have the last.

Oh yeah, you’ve got this. The belt’s already yours.

God, you love this sport, this fight. Blow the whistle,

already. You’ve read the script. Hot damn. This is your night.

After the Poetry Retreat




That peony, full bloom

and all honey perfume,

by the time she walks

in the front door again

she’ll have remembered

how to be dandelion,

her feet taprooted

to the kitchen floor,

her face common gold,

her hands soft rubbery green.

This soil only grows

what it knows to grow.

At night she dreams in pink.

Circle Time



The teacher is singing, her voice

a bluegreen moss that softens the room.

I don’t know why I make a fist,

but I let my left hand land

on the back of the boy beside me.


It makes a sweet thump, as if

he is hollow inside. And I like it,

the sound of that thump.

And I do it again. And I do it

again, my fist a warm stamp


on his silence. The teacher

is singing, her voice a leaf

that whirls through the room,

and I hit him again, not

to hurt him, but because


the thump sounds so good.

The teacher stops singing.

She looks at me and the boy

and asks us what is happening.

He is hitting me, I say,


and the boy does not say no.

She sends him to the corner

to sit alone. This is when I learn

to lie. Beside me, the space

on the rug is silent as wool.


One Relearning

but I forgot the words

I said, and the tree said

sing without them

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