She’s waiting to be held

She sat with her breasts poured out over

a hill of meadow with its teacup flowers

and starburst leaves,

wondering how many steps to moss

and how many arms could hold her

across an ever-anxious landscape,

browning and burning.


If there were wings in the offing,

such questions would be laughable

but with an angry earth,

she wants to feel held

before the end.


Poem of the west

I watched a green-haired sloth

smoking on the porch

near the town limit sign with the cross.


Now climbing the ladder,

I ache to see the old west

before the gold rush

and before you grew so tall.


Away from summer, I should hum

the tune from my childhood zither

all red and flowered and much missed.


How did it go? Was it as fresh

as the breeze we drew our kites

up inside, funneling child laughs

and rhymes of sky castles


or did the wind that brought us here

sound of thunderous applause

for having made the journey to this valley?


I watched roads widen into

fields into oceans into planets

while the sloth smoked, tapping

the penny against the table.


If I had my zither, I would pluck

more than my flying dreams and sing

to you of rattlesnake waltzes.


This is good, remembering warmth

of old suns over young bones

as we grow longer in thought

and shrink in space.


I am an explorer hidden inside a mother

inside an afternoon of breaking skies

and beds of wild grasses.

Between Pine and Oak

She muttered a name under her breath,

his name, from so long ago, the wrinkles

around her eyes hadn’t closed off the view

yet and he still existed and came to her

in vivid visions. The visions remain

but nothing is vivid for her except

her great-grandmother’s apron

and the fireworks over the culm bank.


Love words, dangerous

as fairy tales should be, with death

and famine to be overcome

like a cloud melting an everlasting winter;

when you open to me, it’s

slippery and chafing, leaving us both raw

with the effort to hold something waning

as the letting go becomes creed.

Parking lot (between spaces)

He’s not a mouse in my mind;

he’s a marauder, slashing his way

downriver to render my garden insensible.

I pretend I’m a prize

and we’re not sad little figures

kicking up dust on a shelf.

He’s sure-footed and I’m carefree.

There are no tolls.