Dear Bitter Old Woman of My Future Self

There will always be someone more beautiful

than you. Know this. Know it like you know your own name,

your mother’s voice, and your high school locker combo. Sing it with me now –

Impressionist at the Border

One morning we ran out of black
and thought birth rather than stop or loss

Night before Ed was supposed to go
for cadmium and ochre but the women

Packing Lunch after a Mass Shooting

Marina’s eyes are tiny wells aching for someone to come with a pail.
I am so sad, she says, her hair bursting from beneath her knit hat.
We have our hands in our pockets or folded across our chests.

Western Story

Colt tied to the fence
broke its neck.
That’s what you get, sometimes.
A wild one.

Elegy in Summer Grass

I have been facing backwards my whole life
trying to remember how the grass felt

that summer you died and weren’t around
to water it. I am trying to remember

Out Back

a tree is sprouting
from a boulder—I’ve seen it—
a smallish fir
not splitting
like a saxifrage


Australia, 1975, on a spring evening
coming home from a night at the pub
with my teaching colleagues, I found,
propelled to the porch light,
some insect hatch—

“Today, like most days…”

Today, like most days, the stop in front of the main post office
I watch colors blur with random movements. Yet, from
behind me his cello voice reverberates his daily mantra.

To My Future Caregiver

I give you my thanks. Perhaps
you see that in my eyes although
the only words I have left
are no doubt cruel.

My World View

I count six kids in the women’s restroom—
girls and boys all yammering questions
as their placid mother dispenses silky
answers like soap, guides the rinsing
of slippery hands, and ushers them out,
sinks gleaming, floor dried,
no paper towel left behind.

In My Kitchen

As I put away the butter dish,
I see my grandmother buried
in the plastic pleats
of a bread wrapper.