Posts for June 27, 2016


The Burial of Auntie Nell

We buried her high atop the Tipton Street hill that day,
The coldest any of us could remember;
Icy splinters tore into our raw faces,
Stinging like the words
That had told us she was gone.
All her life, someone remembered,
She wanted it to snow the day she was buried,
And so we smiled that she had had her way one last time
And braced ourselves against the wind
Blowing through all our houses.


An albino girl in the neighboring camping lot

Loading my car
trying to hide my covert examination
Fine features accented by heavy white brows and lashes
Colorless, shining hair
Such a strange and elegant beauty
What is it like to be so different
Yet so lovely?



In summer
heat sweated through the walls.
My refuge was the space below the ceiling fan.

In winter
little veins of ice crackled along windows;
we woke every morning to toes on cold hardwood.
We preserved warmth–
heavy curtains, clunking radiators,
staying together in rooms with the warmest light.
There was a windowseat of dark oak in my parents’ room,
too cold to sit in.
The plate window let in light and cold air.
Next to it was a fireplace,
wider than my father was tall.
Full of brass and logs and it smelled like wood and dust and old things.

I love that smell.

On dim days when smokey clouds hang low on tree tops,
we would sit in front of the fire for hours.
“Never sit so close that you touch the brick”
but every time I turned I inched closer,
toes tucked into the boundary between the last wood plank and the
too warm brick.

I could only warm one side at a time,
still until my front-roasted,
just shy of burning,
blanket on my back, cold air lingering.
A the end of winter I was glad to be outside,
to see green and blue
and to dig toes into new, dark earth,
just to smell sweet loam.
Yet, as the sun lengthened,
sometimes I would creep back inside,
to cool brick and dark logs,
looking up the chimney,
missing the fire.



I let Hawthorne choose the apples.
He was barely two–
couldn’t reach the stands.
I held him up.
Maybe it was color,
green, red, yellow,
all bright,
well saturated and vibrant.
Maybe it was how soft or firm
the flesh beneath his little, questing fingers.
Cool of the skin,
slight rough of fruit without wax.
All he chose were a little soft,
like they were full of juice.
Maybe it was size.
He couldn’t grasp bigger ones,
needed a hand to steady fist-sized Pink Ladies.
But small ones,
nestled into his palm,
didn’t slip.
They ended up in the basket,
little knots of apples.


Cargo Cult

In my dreams, a woman descends from the skies into the remote island village of my life. No idea at all how she looks or sounds. I’m smart enough to only see her omnivorous brain and completely loving soul shining from her eyes. Oh, to make such dreams more than religion. I know an effigy of an airplane, rudimentary and shaped from branches and vines, is inappropriate in this case. And certainly not a tasteless twig and twine person. A gigantic burning heart, made of all the children’s clay in town soaked in more than a dash of charcoal fluid, seems ambivalent, open to interpretation and argument. Although it’s certainly a dramatic signal. I’ll continue to think and sleep on this, with faith-bound hopes for finding how to make this dream of untold riches reality. 


I’m 500 Elephants Without You

Bountiful garden,
you weren’t meant to be kept,
your winter wheat too wild to be tamed,
logistics just weren’t there in the end.
I didn’t need your clustering bounty anyway.

I’m as strong as 500 elephants without you,
can carry the world’s pain on my back.
I’m a limestone mountain, steep,
slaked with gold roots digging me deep,
steadfast against any mountain removal
though my legs, and voice, and eyes shake,
and feet tremble as I leap over broken forests,
trunks timbering without sound, swelling heart,
rivers winding unwavering in my blood stream.

So, take your petulant tomatoes, basil,
tender zucchinis, summer squash, and corn
somewhere else for fall farming,
I’ll stay here and continue to thrive well,
on my own.

  June 27, 2016


When You Were Five

You loved building
climbing riding and swimming
eating cheesy anything
a stuffed dog named Softy
but you loved me the most


Fall of the Golden Child

Written in stone, a future set
Lucky strike for a lucky man
Whatever the lock, he found the key
Opened the door, let in the world
Gift designed for a king
It was his and he earned it
This precious promise

Then somewhere on the way
Luck went to his head
Swelling it like a weather balloon
Sending him to a high up place
Where owning the earth
Meant owning the sky
Except the clouds refused him

From my lowly place on the ground
I am but a meek man wanting his own
Looked over, which maywell have spoiled me
But I pity the unsatisfied man
As the pride overrides greatness
And as he falls heavily to the ground,
Suddenly the earth has become mine.



A rock,
thunder and a storm,
down a hill,
down Bourbon Street,
a clattering bowling ball,
yeasty nuggets of bread,
A four letter word I can get away with,
droplets down a windowpane, 
and all of this off the tongue.



A friend is,
this very moment,
climbing the volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro,
She has dreamed of the summit her entire life,
of the snowy slopes
far below them the plains and grasses.
She told me about the trip with excitement in her eyes,
and when I lamented that I could not take such grand adventures–
I have a little son who requires big time–
she smiled
but I could see the regret as her smile faded.
She could not have a child.
I cannot have Kilimanjaro.