Tuesday, January 29, 2013


suffering is temporary,
unless one's stuck
in the resins of memory

whose amber jar
must be opened to receive

every tincture of
kindness, love
and understanding

that can dissolve
and free

Monday, January 28, 2013


A stag leapt out
in front of me

while I was on
my morning run.

He seemed surprised to see me there,
grimly plodding along.

I tried to count his antlers
as he nimbly took the hill,

picturing (tragically!) his majesty
mounted on a wall somewhere.

He half-eyed the pains I took
to stay upright on a skating rink,

then shook his head,
stamped a hoof

and I swear,
that prince laughed at me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013




The whistle blows.

A bead of sweat rolls down my chin,
shivers to my thigh,
succumbs to the floor. 
My shoelace is untied again.

Even in dreams, the scoreboard maintains
its dull illusion of truth.
And objectively speaking, I'm behind.

But my coach won't take this
lying down.
She jabs at a clipboard
filled with X's and O's. 
I dutifully look,
trying to make sense of the plan. 

The whistle blows a second time;
sweat dissolves to wakefulness. 

I am lying in my bed
at the mercy of dawn,
thinking about the meaning
of an X and an O,
and thinking about how-- 
with time's assist

I could throw myself
an ellipsis 
and simply
. . . 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


(The Walrus Was Paul)

I woke up this morning
with a song in my head:

I'm fixing a hole
where the rain gets in

and knew that my husband
put it there.

It was Paul, after all,
who slipped into my stocking

a mixed Beatles tape
that first Christmas morning,

not long after scrapping
our lonely hearts' club band

for this magical mystery tour.

Friday, January 25, 2013


On this frankly frigid
winter's day,

Trees are the members
of an ascetic tribe

Snow is the carapace
of a buried dreamer

A blue jay mocks
my purple sneakers

And oxygen is
a diamond dust

filling my iron lungs

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Every night,
our daughter was scared
of nightmares waiting
in the valley of dreams.

When bedtime arrived, I'd leave her light on
until turning in.

But then our little Alice
asserted her dominion
through an uncanny magic
called lucid dreaming,

foiling the monsters
who dared to pounce
with movie-script pinches
and dei ex machina.

Now it's lights out
after bedtime kisses.

But what to do
for the child-at-heart,
who's not so alarmed
by the movies in her mind,

but by the nothingness lurking
just behind?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I.    If the wind is a woman,
      then flurries are memory's
      molecular dance
      and chaos is narrative.

II.  The moment before
      you're fully awake
      and the pieces of the jigsaw
      haven't snapped into place:

      You could be anyone.

III.  My daughter rests her head
       against my breast:
       my right hand slides
       across her heart.

       One. Two. Three.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So many poems
behave like planets,
circling around the poet giant.

Point the lens outward;
watch it flip like a mirror.
This reflection confirms it:
I am my own muse.
I burn like the sun

with defiance and shame,
and a continuing hope
that something I say

may inspire those planets
to grow bored and explore
the rest of the Milky Way

you know...for a change.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I dropped pebbles
from my pocket

with the hope
of being found.

With an eye towards
building roads,

with the ambition
of the blind.

Failing to note--
they were seeds, all along.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


at your touch
i am both

and strong

like the tree's last leaf;
every ring within its trunk

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


The snow was new. The dream was old. 

She walked past the barn, setting a course for the pond, clad only in a white nightgown and a pair of muck boots. Beneath their rubber soles was half a foot of January powder. Around her were charcoal limbs and the stillness of snow and every so often, a gathering of white-tailed deer, their eyes wide and staring, the placid aliens of this frozen planet. Soaring over the eastern hills was a half moon, tilted on its side, scattering stars across the Milky Way. 

As a girl, she’d tried to count the stars and failed. As a young woman she’d plotted every constellation, believing math and myth to be the star-crossed arms of God’s embrace. It had been years since she’d troubled herself to check for more than an act of weather. 

She was conscious of moving towards a goal, undeterred by its non-dimensionality. To move was enough. To move, at her age, was a gift. The snow gave beneath her slight weight, and for some reason, on this particular evening, she saw the quantum glow of Cheshire cats with every step pulling her closer to her destination. 

To Lovers’ Lake. 

A foolish name. They hadn’t striven for creativity; to live back then seemed a poetry enough. To fall in love, during the spring of her seventeenth year, was simply her due.  

His name was Thelonius. An impossible name. 

Impossible times. 

Time. The night had sharpened its claws on it. Luckily, she had no teeth left to chatter. As it was, the wind lifted her hair and stiffened her nipples; it howled at her meager pound of flesh. She wouldn’t last long in it. Perhaps sooner than that.  

To lie down and sleep the sleep of the angels. 

The pond was as she remembered it, at the far end of the acreage. She stopped several feet from its southern lip. Where there should have been ice, water steamed like a boiling spring. Approaching the pond's edge, she could see through the condensation to the stars reflected in its black pool. She picked out Orion easily enough. 


The wind died. She hunkered down by the side of the pond, looking towards its western face. The oak tree had been felled long ago by her daddy’s men. A gawping blankness remained.The limb Thelonius had hung himself from had been too burdened by the task before it, fracturing sometime after her discovery of his body, during the lost hour of her dash for help, the promise ring he’d given her bouncing secretly against her heart, her knees bleeding from so many falls to earth. 

When she’d returned, screaming incoherently by Mama’s side, how her heart had leapt!  As big a leap as any they’d taken from oak tree to pond splash. Thelonius wasn’t there. Just a branch snapped off to bone. Mama was confounded. Perhaps it was all a dream. Perhaps her daughter had lost her mind. 

She’d prayed it was so. 

In the end, they’d had to drag the pond (“for a Nigger, mind you”) as the summer sun gave up and she’d wept through the hands half-covering her eyes. 

Let him be, she’d begged, as they fished out the body. But they’d paid no attention to a girl gone to hysterics. Her pleas had come too late. 

She’d fought for him too late. 

“Thelonius,” she said again, the fulsome vowels a thaw on her tongue.   

The cold stopped and stars dropped from the sky as snowflakes. Softly, with a falling grace. A dying wish. 

Tipping forward, she looked to her reflection in the water, unsurprised by the youthful countenance that inspected her in turn. She’d been so pretty once. She’d forgotten how much. She touched her face. The girl did likewise.  

Slowly, as she continued to gaze into the water’s shapeshifting depths, the stars of Orion sharpened into the brightness of a man’s eyes. And then a smile: a brilliant blossoming of white crescent through a dark throne of night. Eventually, there arose the constellation of his cheeks and neck. And finally, the whole of him. Thelonius. Suddenly and miraculously. Yet somehow, during this moment--and at this holy coordinate--the most natural thing that ever was. 

She reached out to touch the water but stopped, scared. 


She heard the voice as clear as day. She heard it as a bell. Snowflakes melted against her bare shoulders and breasts as she peeled the nightgown away and kicked off each boot in turn. She laughed and lifted her palms upwards, hesitating but a little as the snow collected in her hair and hands. 

Jump, May. 

She jumped. 

And before her splash, she heard the nightingale cry out its darkling song.  


For more in my "New" series, see 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. Special thanks to Aniket Thakkar for keeping it going. A nod of gratitude to John Keats as well.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2013 be good to all of us.