Tuesday, February 21, 2017


The lucky one balanced out
of crazy, ripping circles
and that final dragging stab
into mud. It was always iffy,
which kite would work,
would climb invisible lifts
of wind and insist on heaven.
Then you could feel it--
that other world yanking the string
and cutting your small fist.
Terror and elation sang
between chest and mouth--
as if you, yourself, might rise,
tangle in electric wires or watch
the warm blue ball of earth
falling away behind you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cook County Nature Preserves

Tiny, still refuge,
rock in sea of noise--
car and truck traffic parts
like water around
your miniature forest.
Outside, an ambulance
shrieks. I am glad,
when my time comes,
that someone will be hiking,
shoulders easing,
limbs swinging,
body settling back
in stride with soul.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Artist

. . . the more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. ~ Vincent van Gogh

"I love you more than you can know,"
Grandma brushes my hair from my face
at our final greeting.

And still, at night I sleep beneath
thousands of tiny white stitches
run from needles held
by Grandma and her friends
on Tuesdays in Arkansas.

I curl beneath scenes of appliqué children,
each with a companion: the worms in a corn can,
the kite, the frog in the pocket,
the Bible with the girl in Sunday best--
the indignities of sleep swathed
beneath a drool-stained hem,
beneath thread-bare trousers
and raveling dresses
whose soft fabric was salvaged
by one who never forgot the Depression.

Isn't this what we ask for--to leave,
with help from our own Tuesday Ladies,
some substance of our love?

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Now it pays irregular visits  . . .
I lift my head and suddenly
the trees are mysteries
in the half-light.
The corner bush
(crushed against stained siding
and mangled into geometric form)
becomes unbearably tender,
its evergreen fingers holding
a down of snowflakes
unbroken, unmelted.
 . . . the dusk has eaten almost all color,
but not the red slash of cardinal
foraging under the dormant apple tree.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

While Tending

Shock of green parakeet
in two-toned foliage
outside Chicago

Lance of raptor stare
upon refilling
the bird feeder

Perot overbite
in ornamental pear

Hawk's talloned clench
round chipped red railings

Our flocking concerns, and yet
the tremors of
a heavenly host


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Concerning my poems' previous publication by The Christendom Review

Only a handful of my poems have been published outside of this blog, and most of those were published by an online literary journal called The Christendom Review. The editors there welcomed my submissions with consideration and kindness, even sharing helpful encouragement and critique with me. However, as I have visited TCR's facebook page in the years since my last publication with the journal, what I have seen has troubled me. Whereas I understood the journal to be concerned with publishing quality literature, the facebook page appears to serve as something of an advocacy page for certain issues held dear by many social conservatives.

I disagree with the approach and some of the beliefs exhibited on TCR's social media platform, particularly a 2015 link to an article which I see as feeding fears concerning transgender individuals. The encouragement of fear and suspicion toward an already marginalized group of people can lead to real harm, and I regret being affiliated in any way with such a message. Though I thank the editors of TCR for their personal kindness, and though I greatly respect several TCR authors whom I know personally, I am sorry that I caused my work to be affiliated with an organization whose approach on at least one public platform I now see as harmful.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Trees

The trees
under this substantive white space,
this back-light of sticky snow-crystal heaps,
are revealed.

Here are no straight lines.
Each trunk and twig embodies
its own slow, sinuous progression.
A flayed stub of dead tree
lays bare this whorling--
its wooden muscles graining
up and around,
like a twist of clay.

Above, scaled bellies of old oaks
and all top-twigs stand
in high relief under
a gray-white hood under
a gray-white sky.
And I, beneath, awed, enveloped,
breathe my tiny breath
so much more loudly
than the forest.