small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Friday, June 28, 2013

the way through

after a painting
of the same name
by Jane Smith

in a house
of locked doors
she dips her brush
in green-gold light—
a forest beckons

I enter
through brushstrokes
like briars
the deepening canvas
of the heart

the echo of birdsong
inside us
we make our own way
through a pathless wood

Lynx  XXVIII: 2, June 2013    


Friday, June 21, 2013

Air Defense

Saint Francis’ Satyr—
so rare its cocoa-powder wings
flutter only across a few wet meadows
on a single military base, where fire bombs
lobbed into canebrake make a scuttle of  flames,
open patches of sun where the sedges grow
and the Satyr, guarded only by eyespots,
lays one by one her tiny eggs
the color of new grass.

The meadow over the way
turned white with daisies the summer I was six,
and we wandered for weeks, the dog and I,
linked by garlands and lost
in an ocean of white.  

A man with a camera came,
and then a full-page photograph
in Time magazine—the daisies, the laughing dog,
and me—important reasons for effective air  defense
in black and white. The year was 1956 but the war
was the one war always being fought
somewhere beyond the edge
of the field of daisies.

Yet somewhere
among the leaves of grass
perhaps a chrysalis—

Bolts of Silk  6/9/2013

The endangered St. Francis' Satyr  (Neonymphia mitchelii francisci) occurs only on Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina, the state where I live. The exact locations of its tiny, fragmented breeding sites are kept confidential to protect the butterfly from collectors.  The photograph shows another Satyr Butterfly, the Creole Pearly Eye (Enodia creola).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[first stars]

for the first stars
to wink
out of wishless dusk 
            I begin again

red lights 9:2, June 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013


the self
I’ve clung to
all these years
on water

Skylark 1:1, summer 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Winter Starlight and a Chinese dragon

Winter Starlight
The news from my son’s group home is not good.  In a fit of manic rage, he has ripped the big toenail from his crippled foot. As if I weren’t baffled enough already, I read up on quantum mechanics—why not? I learn that if two particles interact even once, they remain forever connected in some paradoxical way. Even across great distances, their states change in tandem, faster than the speed of light.

for the unbeliever—
quantum entanglement
my only stay
against your distant misery

 Haibun Today 7: 2, June 2013

My first tanka prose piece, "Winter Starlight" reflects an incident that occurred several years ago. The tanka below reflects the other side of life with significant disability.  (To anyone out there dealing with autism and/or mental illness in a loved one, I would like to say don't ever give up; the distance between the wrong meds and the right ones can be measured in light-years.)

he shows me
a Chinese dragon
in the wintry sunset
this gift from my autistic son

Skylark 1:1, summer 2013


Saturday, June 1, 2013

five kitchen poems

between the carrots
and the kohlrabi
I paint
my secret life blood-red
with the juice of beets       

poems to eat 
on the grocery list
I let the toast
go up in smoke

the thwack
of a cherry pitter
missing half the pits
my desire in life
to do one thing well

new-laid eggs
bobbing in cool water . . .
I rub the dross
from my poems

all morning
reading tanka—
my compost bin
heaped with pineapple,
strawberry, mango, rose

Atlas Poetica 13, Fall 2012