Arbor Day

Adjusted Small-Potted-Pear-Espalier

He resembles Alfred Hitchcock
as he trundles his topiary
up the hill. Leans to
the burden. His ass
bobs Up. Down.

He rests. Shoulders slump.
Turns; gathers his jacket of black silk.

I am made.
His eyebrows lift
at my appearance in his lane.
Brows crinkle. Wide rictus.

Abandoned. The thought leaves him.
Face slack as the lake on a calm day
He vanishes. I am alone with a
marvel of the orchard.

Delighted. I gawk.
Heavy oval fruit. Branches bow
weighted. Luscious limbs.
Compelled. I approach.

Reach to caress terminal leaves.
It unfurls to me.
My hand caressed.
My body embraced.

Wonder surges.
Affection wafts pollenating.
Fogs my senses.
Tears trickle my cheeks.
I’ll be damned,
I am loved.

Heaven knows where these things come from. This poem was a very intense dream that tunneled itself into my consciousness the other morning and awakened me and would not let me go. I suppose I was celebrating Earth Day in advance? Or perhaps I was reversing the fate of Eve in the Garden of Eden?

My photo illustration is a composite of images from flickr creative commons users vosburg_09 and  Dean Croshere.

Silent Retreat


In the dark I feel you slip away.
Like the blood seeps from an abrasion,
scarlet droplets collect.
You bleed out of me.
I cannot staunch the flow.

When you arrived in the dark
you came with no sound
as the flames of candles
illumine the night, halo the air.

Now in the dark I feel the silent retreat.
Without explanation you go.
Forever. Assuming my body had contained you,
I am surprised at the leaving.

For Andra

Mountain Pond

The presence of water changes all.
Liquid undulations restore our souls.
Self-healing surface closes around
our brokenness—bearing us up.
Upon it, we bob in the current.


This poem was inspired by the amazing writer and fine friend Andra Watkins. Thank you for who you are.

Real Life Is Stranger Than the Blues or Politics

Morning Glories

In the dream he stood across the room. His voice embraced her before he did. Face to face, his arms held her. The full-body clasp of lovers.

In the days of the Iron Curtain, when cold war was warming to conflagration, their second encounter, by chance, in a café, over blues. Who knew talk of conflict in Romania could be foreplay?

Their first encounter. In a bar. As the blues played. Where she was made spectacle. Kidnapped to the dance floor, compelled, she danced with a rude partner. Freed, she sat, sulking in the dark.

His voice embraced her before he did. “Would you like to dance? Not all men are cads.” They did. Dance. As if they had danced before. Many times. Many places. With the blues simmering.

From the café and the fall of Ceauşescu they progressed to the collapse of Russia. In a mountain cabin they “gave them something to talk about” the day the bear died.

At sunset on the deck, sipping beer, his voice embraced her before he did. “The Russian people want this.” From the radio, he spoke. Of conflict. Of resolution. Of achievement.

Off and on. For years. They met to talk politics. To hear the blues. To dance. Always, he held her. No claim on the other except in Brief Encounter.

Until this morning in her dream when he claimed her with his embrace.


Holding a Dead Rattlesnake by flickr Creative Commons User JeffreyW

I remember the day at summer camp
when we caught the rattlesnake.
Beheaded it. Skinned it. Tossed the body.

Stretched the hide. Nailed to wood.
Poured salt on the skin
and placed it in the sun to dry.

I imagine the glistening bundles of muscle
shimmering in the sunlight
dappled with a pattern of leaves and the occasional cloud.
Now useless. They lie on a bed of forest decay.
Fluids which once carried oxygen and nutrients
ooze onto the litter of nature;
Debris of a less obvious struggle.

I can’t remember the snake’s struggle to survive.
Don’t recall a baring of fangs for defense.
Or what we did with the head.
But I do remember the beauty of the stretched skin
with its patterns and scales and my wonder at the ease with which we
denuded the snake of it and claimed it as our own.

Photo credit: flickr user jeffreyw