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.

Splintering Tiny Soup Bowls Up Into the Sky

Grounded in a place you can’t see, you will not be allowed off the gondola
mid-mountain for fog you’ll float on five ah sounds (or another vowel) and
on on top floatfloat beyond the pole rope/ turn the gondola will pause


This is just to say

you have stolen
these children
whom you are

and whom
you are using
as leverage
for funding your wall

How to Walk Like a Quadruped

Post horse-kick
to the knee, post-election, I still take to the trail on foot.
An hour a day in the woods,

two miles tops, is as far as my bad leg goes.
After a while,
the good leg goes, too, from carrying the extra load.

When you inject
trauma into a system, more trauma spins off, ripples out.
Another problem

The Deaf Woman and Silence

The deaf woman is oak beech maple fir catalpa pine willow larch.
She is bark leaf twig root cambium.
Do not worry that the deaf woman will be felled planed sawn into

Excerpt from The Book of Lamentations

All the crows in town flying over our house, their moxy
collective and loyal; common or not, I’m drawn to this bird
who knows faces and will fight for an unrelated crow.

But now my childhood friend defends two men for stopping
traffic for four and a half minutes—each minute a minute
for an hour Michael Brown’s body bled in the street. The Judge

claims the defendant cannot wear his shirt bulletproof:
black lives matter as it is unfair to the commonwealth,
imagine this before a jury he says—this, after ten months of court.


Not just a spiral but a spiraled spiral.
Not just light but heat. The Edison bulb,

endangered for good reason and yet it’s our nature
to return to what’s familiar but bad for us.

Fuck the cold light of the LED, the green
fluorescent. You know you’d be the bat