lying in the backyard with Mom

we are underwater, looking up at a surface of stars—the wind

rolls over us

presses us down into warm earth then

lifts the breath from our lips

swirls it up

to break against a shore

of trees until nothing exists except the smell of the Atlantic

where you came from

1,749 miles away

(I know it’s not Great Poetry—poetry’s not really my genre—but sometimes there’s something in your soul that simply demands to be written.)

Born Again

Crack me open

in soft earth. Unmake me,

synapse cleaved

from synapse.

Let me ache into being,

a slow uncurling,

breathe deep the spice of decaying leaves and

creek water and hidden things.

Set me free from the belief

that I can believe

enough to carve roots into my own flesh.

I Didn’t Realize I Had a Strange Childhood

Rust

My Mother

cried as she drove up the driveway past the rusting hulls

of trucks, the blue sawmill devoured

by raspberry bushes, the log piles shedding their bark. She told me

marriage is the worst kind of loneliness. She watched

the ever-growing string of tractors in the muddy field,

felt the strain of engines pulling against hungry earth

as my brother and I waded up to our chins in the front pond,

a cathedral of cattails above, stagnant water singing with frogs and here

and there a dead, stringy form beneath.

Silent Prayer

Silent prayer photo

I

Lord, let us come to life, the intake

of breath after

stale air, a churning sunrise,

 

mist falling back

and brilliance

of color-cracked galaxies.

 

let us reach up and touch it—

liquid glass,

a ripple and then it crashes down,

 

cool motion and foam at our feet.

 

II

 

Mosquito bites tattoo our ankles.

A stone bench with blue velvet

lacing the horizon,

as words try to capture what a lifetime means.

 

III

My words beaten into formulas,

a Babylon Tower.

They do not hold the breath of sparrows,

the soft chanting of the lake.

 

Nightmares

Anxiety-depression

 

Wasps burrow into my ears,

sleek bodies wriggling deeper, scrambling legs

scraping the small hairs of my ear canal.

 

Wait, every cell alert,

for needle to venom my veins: black threads to strangle my mind,

damage the fragile structure forever.

I am irreparable.

 

I attempt to pick them out with tweezers

but they pluck apart – bits of abdomen and orange blood

mashed against my eardrum

but I know:

 

a stinger can release its venom even after the wasp’s death.

 

 

 

Fire and Earth

 

Fire and Earth photo.jpg

 

Your soul is not enough, they say.

They say are you willing to lay down your life?

And I go down

with a pickax into the cracks,

chip, chip, chip at the aching parts.

 

The fractures spit flames

sparks swirling,

burning, blistering—

grasp the coals until they sear flesh, take

embers and hieroglyph the air until I breathe ash.

 

I lie on bedrock. A thousand miles up

the crack of night I came from holds vigil over its own death.

I spread my palms against charred stone, trace punctures with my fingertips,

and say

 

I

give

up.