one side of desire

Did you follow me
to the river’s frothy edge?
crossing at source, forced
to see my face seeing yours.

Lying in cold sheets
remembering your pocket
pulsing on my wrist, the way
you stood with eager
hand in hand. Do not follow

me; I can not see
from behind, your eyes
traveling my spine.


farewell to a jay

blue wing tips
a dapper nod
the flush of tree
and brush applaud
with stellar head
a pile of spray
to gray cement
he’s gone. long
gone, so long.


Poppied

We step out to see the poppies
who’ve peeled their pods
like felted raincoats, flopping
flay of raw orange-reds. They
will never stay dry again.

If they knew it was the last time
landing limp-faced on the wet grass
would they undress so fast? It’s not
the first time we’ve watched.


Appearances

I
Within the owl’s gaze, an old woman in bark-shadow sleeves
is pouring out handfuls of light. You reach in for a fill
turning warm palms naked under the cloudless sky.

You tempt a stream into the yellow of your eyes,
the freckles of your skin and the mole on your back.
You fount into your bent toe bones and calloused thumbs.

Un-roughed, you wonder how the woman landed with the owl.
She laughs until her eyes get small and shows you
a rapid slide show of your earlier appearances.

II
The Jenkins’ garage first kiss
so swift it seemed accidental.
Semi-religious emergence as a
red-faced butterfly semi-
sacred transformation onto
the semiotic windshield
of your ’64 Pontiac Tempest
screaming down I-35 with a wet
husband accelerating in proportion
to six-packs consumed

your twenty-something self, hovering
above the wreckage in a favorite
pinstriped skirt, falling
flat-tired on hot asphalt
west of your final destination–
a single bumbling deer fly
entering through the front door
exiting through the back.

III
You wonder if she is ghost or harbinger, fickle nightmare
or timeless spirit. Something inside of you knows
she is a future you making an early appearance.


The Sea

It is high noon;
no shadows
followed me here.

Post-bloom ghosts
haunt the swollen sills
sea forms pass through
on the breeze, splintered
greys squeak chain link songs.

My skin is sticky, salt
sits around my lids. I strain
for flat-grassed plains, cricket’s
sultry strum inland song
louder in this heat.

Open spigots
fill my footprints. Tides toss
and play with heaps of sky.
Serious play:

Inhale

Hold

Exhale

Can I breathe
any louder?

More than once, I’ve tossed salt
over my shoulder for good luck.


How the Sun

How did I make it
through a five night
hospital stay, through
burst and fever,
a night-watch brigade
circle of steaming
doubt. How did I sail
one full moon to the next,
one full sink of dirty
dishes to the next. How
did I plant the seeds
on time and water the annuals
so leaves wouldn’t fail
their spring. How did the same
sun that ripens sweet peas,
tulips, and zucchinis,
melts M&Ms onto the car seat
and bakes my front porch,
place one bright kiss
on my cheek, as if in sentience
knew need. How is it
then I could not stop
crying. One morning
in April when all was
better than good enough.

Granted, this is more like a journal entry than a poem, but I’ve included it in April’s collection of attempts at poetry because there is some core here I may want to revise later. Thank you for reading.


High Fruit

Bright fruit,
I would pluck you
from the reachless branch,
siphon pale
your incandescent orb

unclustered, you’d rise
and do, up through far
shuddering sweet gum tips.

I would have you
golden full, my hands
wrapped blue and lips
on orchid faded sky.

Refection’s face
in candle round, ardent
lobe and lucent light,
say you are more

than moon. I have mistaken
you for fruit, feasting
high with Venus.


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