Conservative, old-fashioned, god-fearin’ folk,
busted trailers filled with odd treasures
post offices the size of dog houses
proud American flags
Potato Salad
Abandoned video stores with sun-bleached cut outs of Indiana Jones
1,000 newly opened craft breweries
Checkerboards of soybean fields
Three generations of broken tractors in a front yard
Hill-top cemeteries packed tight into thick wet soil with the bodies of people you love, decomposing
A lake that looks like an ocean
Amish buggies in a Kroger parking lot
a place to tie up your horse at a gas station
Farm dogs
Log piles
Confederate flags
Little hippy towns with blue-haired 11 year old kids playing chess
Septic tanks
people feeding other people and calling it “a ministry”


If home is knowing
Then we are far from home now

out on a long walk
with no shoes

out in the unnameable tundra

or hiding

building or denying

but all trying

all trying

if shelter is complacency
we are without nest

all of our belongings
torn from dresser drawers
thrown in the streets

all of our ummentionables

if a bed is a place
to hide from truth
we fear we might never sleep again

standing in fields
clutching cold pillows
wondering when the gift
will be ours again
when we will belong to sleep again

we are frightened
but bold
we are learning a new craft
learning how to build
new houses
new beds
fresh comforts

the security of knowing is gone
but we will not
always stand in the field

not with our newfound

creativity and fearless construction

we may never go back to the places we know

but we can build new ones

and they will be homes if we say so


The dominant means for perception
Are not the only means for perception
Did you not know that one can
Touch to see
Sign to talk
And roll to run?

There are worlds unknown to you
Nooks and crannies
Nuance of gestural language
Finding rapturous joy in the discovery
Of adaptation

There are so many means for perceiving
And enjoying
Left yet to be turned over
So many uncharted paths
To take in our world

Slowly we build bridges of understanding
Make new tools
Shift the culture
Make windows where there were walls

Humans are change adept
We can live in the coldest
And hottest parts of this earth
And survive

Consider what we can achieve
When given the small leg-up
Of a ramp
An interpreter
Printing in braille

It is time to build a window
Where there was a wall


Cancer is the crab
From ninety to
One hundred and twenty degrees
Highly sensitive to his environment
And keen
And ruled by the moon

He is also the same crab
That has made me cry in the shower
Wondering if I, like my grandmother,
Should put sticky notes on the bottom of all my treasures
With names of those bequeathed

The same celestial crab
That walks sideways
To avoid truth

Has slyly walked by us
At night
Scratching his claws on hardwood floors
Keeping us from sleep

Apparently, one can build trust
By not looking at him dead-on

But I do it anyway

Staring into his arthropod eyes
Knowing that he can see me
From every direction

We play our games
Dance imperfect circles

What does he know that he will not say?

The living fossil
He is older
And wiser than us
He keeps his secrets under hard, treasure-trunk shell

So we wait
And watch
His direction

Sleep with one eye open
Dubiously following his moves


I simply cannot wait
For anything to happen on its own
So I tend to
Pop the bud before
The blossom

Like a child who peels back Christmas paper
Just enough
To read the text on the box
Retreating to my room with secret information
A squeal of silent delight

So too am I
Peeling back petals
To glimpse at
Style and stigma

Perhaps they are better
More fully realized
More apt to show their rich color
If I were to wait

Because I could never tolerate such a punishment
I will gladly accept the center for what it is:
Green, green
And unprepared


I attest that I am
Ruined by tattoos
Ugly with broken teeth
Destroyed by wrinkles
Withering with exhaustion
A dying light
A smoldering heap of jealousy
Tempered with experience
Old with love

But also, at times

Gorgeous with laughter
Insane with pleasure
Ablaze with desire
Giddy with invention
And new with longing

I attest that I am not undone
I am not done



Standing at the river
On a Friday morning
Watching the wind blow the face
Of the water
In the opposite direction of the current
Ignoring the perfect clouds
And the song of birds
And the smell of flowers
And the rustling of trees

Fixated only on the
Divided motion of water

A gust peeling backward the surface
Like wind on old skin

I see myself there
Not in the reflection
But in the motion

The deepest parts
Flowing steadily
In the manner
In which the geography intended
Moving downhill to reduce potential energy
Relaxed in its inevitable outcome

And the face of the river
Belying its prevailing motion
Fighting against the
Mighty power of fate


A welcomed wake-up call
At 7:01 pm last night
Awake from waking life
Warm-wrapped light, gone
The tv shut off, the house gave a sigh
Heart-pang winter wind howling is the only sound left
I said “uh oh” and you let out a huff
The dogs didn’t move, as if to say, “Yes, this is what we have been waiting for”
All is slow now
A luxuriating, cold-syrup kind of slow
I light a fire and candles
Read you, “What a Young Woman Ought to Know” from 1893
And we discover that this is the decade in which women are encouraged to consider
Leaving behind the antiquated tradition of riding side-saddle
And while these young women step boldly into a straddle
We straddle old world and new
Oil lamps and cell phones
So relieved to be
By the new ways
Remember, briefly
When we were workers
Makers and doers
And not just on-lookers
After my recitation
We squint at each other in the near-darkness
Pick up each of our phones
And sink back into the silence
It is so difficult to ride side-saddle
When you have been so freely straddling a constant media stream
At a galloping speed
For so long


I had a nightmare that you rejected me
I came to your house and you were there with your new wife
And an old hippy bag, filled with my things
I tried to play it cool, in the dream
Thanked you for packing my stuff so neatly
Complimented your wife’s lovely scarf
And stood in the driveway, watching your dog play in the yard
Throbbing with rejection
Skin beading with the sweat of embarrassment
I woke with the ghost of the feeling
Slowly evaporating from the hairs on my arms
Jumped to my phone
To check Facebook
To see if I remembered your face right
Last tagged photo
An ultrasound
Of your baby-on-the-way
The shock of it
Giving me the Heimlich
I know I have no right to feel this way
But I feel it anyway
As if someone were wringing their hands
Inside my stomach
But I feel free to share it
In the totally exposed and cloaked expression
Of a poem
Men don’t understand the idea of wanting what you have and what someone else has
In two separate
Parallel worlds


There is a poem place in me
Where I only go
When I feel the manic longing
To cry and laugh while hugging a stranger
A place where I am fifteen
And am in love with everything
And fascinated by people’s every movement
In a coffee shop
I can spend weeks, a month
Without going to the poem place
Suspended in the worry place
And the work place
And the menial tasks place
The laundry folding place
If I remember to
I’ll put some headphones on
Close my work notes
And let myself wriggle around
In the place
Where everything has special importance
Where the brief moment when a woman
Looks out the window from her book
Means that she is obviously wrapped in something revelatory
And anything could mean
The end of the world