4.9.19 counting gifts

She says I have
nine letters in my first name
and nine letters in my last name

And she offers to tell me that name
the first name
her first name

not her name

She is busy though
somewhere far down the room
she authorizes the name be shared

some women are born queens
some women are born women
one does not imply the other

I read each of nine letters
typed into the search bar of a phone screen
not said aloud
and wonder what nine letters follow
and do not ask

there is the name I know her by
and the nickname I call her inside myself
and sometimes aloud

and how many others
neither first nor last

and the gift of a name not to be uttered

how do you count it? in
years since she was called by it
names she has had since

4.8.19 considerations

it creeps in
through the cracks between words
this bleak doubt

the lungs contract
minutes pass

out in the spring nights lights still
sparkle through park boughs

can you set your jaw
without grinding your teeth

open your heart
without flaying your chest

can you
tone it down
and go lightly

4.7.19 Amok

bulb flowers grow in bunches
daffodils stand like soldiers
in little clusters
year after year
scattered through the woods
guarding their flanks

these April flowers
seem fierce and determined
cherry blossom exploding
against stark black branch
few leaves lending gentle
green to offer cover

my favorite always have been
the happy armies of
nodding blue among the grass
tumbling down hillside
and across lawn

scilla siberica
squib flower rampant
my feral coat of arms
in the brightening spring


mourning and anger go hand in hand
fury is difficult to avoid
in the face of loss

justice is a human thing
and injustice, as well

death relates to nematodes
and field mice as much
as us or our ideas

4.4.19 & 4.5.19

each piece of the day
comes too slow
poorly conceived
ill executed

making do

and doing

acknowledging gratitude
for love

and the task of opening
40 cans of tomato sauce
dumping them into a pot
rinsing the cans again

helping with dinner

some friends are easier to make
than others
uncertainty is a tough nut


there is an image
in the mind’s eye
of a green inward glow
a removable truth
that might exculpate
might validate
might damn
there is an image
of a green glow
between pelvis and rib
let it not be removed


how do you know how big this is?
you wouldn’t know
the stems and branches could be huge
there’s no scale
there’s no coin in this image

we are ensconced
how do you know how big this is?
how could you guess?
take hold of available information
move with faith


the clock on the wall
disappearing into the apartment
one with the cracking paint
the pot of bolted mint in the window
the checker floor

there is a rock
known only through that window
the shape defined by angle
a story only I know
hidden among many I do not

threads laid bare
stuffing bursting forth
thoughtfully covered with a braided mat

4.1.19 – love & martyrdom

We bought a pack of cards in San Juan
and the suits were the suits of the tarot deck

we play a variant of an already obscure game
two players instead of the standard four

four cards in your hand, your secrets
four on the table, known to the world
four face down beneath them, mysteries

slowly this game, these suits
eclipse all other cards for me

ace of cups
ten of swords

right bower
left bower

scraps of meaning run through the hand
from when I tried to learn the cards a year ago
intellect, emotion, plenty, lack

a hand of cards after dinner is not divination
there are no major arcana in this deck
nothing so explicit as Death or the Hanged Man

and other familiar faces are missing; eights, nines
eleven is a newcomer of uncertain disposition
no replacement for the sideways smiles of queens

some of the cards
are very lovely

I particularly like the three of wands
crossed batons in living red, yellow and green
wound with a bright blue ribbon

the three of wands tells us to take the long view
be open to the unknown, and not react too quickly to the present
ace of cups, ten of swords, three of wands


A poem without deleting
is maybe a more careful thing
a little halting

i find that poems come trippingly
tumbling out then shredding
upart and remaking bits of themselves

or they don’t come at all

only this time the poem comes
all forward and if you write
the wrong vowel surprise
it’s the right vowel now