Sunday, October 9, 2016


We are taking everything out of the house.
This includes your coat--
rough green-brown with large buttons, hard to manipulate.
The weight, as I lift it, surprises,
but hanging from my shoulders, I see
how men could walk in it, the thick fabric falling
below their knees.
I am a usurper in this heaviness
(Midwestern woman in the coat my grandpa wore);
I know only the lint of it:
Maui sunsets which still couldn't rival the Illinois farm's,
hot showers sneaked in the officers' quarters,
comrades who presented an enemy's teeth at a hospital bed, and
the enemy's wallet with faces of family.
I know when Japan surrendered everyone went out howling
but you sat and thought.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Facebook and the End of September

Today I read
ignorant words
from those I thought
my people.
Replying, I do not mind
how sharp I am.
Who cares if it hurts!
They're wrong!

Today I hear
voices crying
into an empty receiver.
If we could only listen,
perhaps we could find it --
a door through sorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Turning toward the chopper's sound, I see
a dragonfly on my shoulder.

And so

the message is not
dragged through the heavens,
but rests, instead, on my back--

lighter than sensation, filling
the softest edge of sight. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

No Island is an Island

"You're complicating my life,"
an offhand remark at work--
the speaker not knowing,
and not to blame,
that I hear in the words
of my darker fears:
I am a complication.
On balance,
I am more trouble
than I am worth.

I suppose, we all complicate
each others' lives.
Our root systems snarl,
fibrous root to spider-lace tip,
around each other.
You can't--
you cannot--
uproot yourself
without taking from others.

As a creationist spoke
of Antediluvian forests, I pictured
strange trees knit by tangle
of root and branch
into islands riding
a broad warm sea.
In such a case,
holds life together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For Ibrahim, Abu Ward's Son

Little one, I wish
I could give you
my very best words,
in lovely, curved layers
like the world of a rose--
something fitting for your father
and for you
who have lost him.

But words are not enough,
are they? They only
designate the space
where something is missing.

"The essence of the world
is a flower," he said.
How right that essence
is also a scent,
something real and aching
which we know
but cannot touch.

For you, precious one,
there is still
"the dearest freshness,"
even in all this dust.
I believe for you.
I believe many gardens for you.