Monday, September 29, 2014

Three Happinesses: Part One

I know how it is. Darkness
seems more honest than daylight,
when we shuffle our hearts
to the bottom of the stack,
brew coffee, match socks, clock in.
If I tell you my happiness
I must be leaving something out.
So I write to you of griefs,
nakedly. But while you are
licking their salt from your lips,
somewhere that you are not looking
a songbird is taking a breath,
opening its mouth to sing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rockabye Baby: The Remix

My little sister was born when I was a teenager. I was so excited to sing lullabies to her. However, once I began to sing the classic "Rockabye Baby," I was horrified at the words, which I'd never really noticed as a child. Since then, I've heard a lot of other people express amused horror that our favorite lullaby depicts a baby falling out of a tree. So I thought I'd share the alternate words I made up as a 15-year-old. The tune is the same, of course, although I did add a few more syllables. Sing it aloud a couple times, and I bet you'll get the gist.

Rockabye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
Hear the tree whisper in the soft breeze
Sunlight is falling through all the leaves
A brown birdy sings you a lullaby
Now fall asleep, out under the sky


Thursday, September 11, 2014


The river, she dreams of oceans,
of shallow ancient seas,
Paleozoic, of losing herself
before she carved these cliffs
from yearning. Her river-dreams
rise up from the canyons
and hang here in the branches,
pearling the early world
with water, oceans in air.
Muttering in sleep,
she runs the red of an old wound,
returning to the sea.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Synonyms for Anger

The sunlight at noon:
hard, flat, and without mercy.
A bright blade against.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Childhood is Imaginary

Nowhere you’ve been can be home.
The paper fa├žades
of last week cannot hold you.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Your focus is absolute.
Your sticky fingers cup each apricot, giving it a gentle turn
to find the blush of ripeness. You have not seen the thundercloud
that’s slumping overhead, grumbling with the weight of rain.
The bird calls halt into an urgent stillness. In that hush
the pears become pendulums, the flagpole a sundial,
and Time slides by between canal-banks.
I barely keep from leaping in to gather up the water to my body,
to pile it and hoard it, anything  to hold on to your babyhood,
which has left you while I wasn’t looking, swiftly as the apricots
that ripen overnight.     
Already my memory fails me.
 I know that when I’m older it will wash away
and leave me clutching only silt and this:
a photograph of you at nearly four

running through an orchard in the rain. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014


We are the dregs of the civilized,
the afterbirth of ego;
loitering professionally in libraries,
alchemists of metaphor,
the most artful of liars.
Is a paper offering worthy?
For the makers of stories
are the keepers of all the world’s brothers.