The Artist Listens to Lila Downs

Her brush tangos
easy on stretched canvas

in rhythmic reds,
sultry oranges

to Acolba Azul.
In the blue bedroom,

Spanish blooms
inside her body,

strikes up
a conversation,

longs for
a word to describe

the glimmer

that is spreading out
from the darkest 

of the room.


There is the sky.
There are imprints
on the sky – grayscale

poles and wires
so full of electricity
and communication,

the geometric buildings
with their mirrored windows
reflecting your place

in the morning arrangement.
A bird-shaped
vacuum of light traces

the raven
as you wander
out of town, unrolling

across the river
on the trellised bridge
and the charcoal memory

of locomotives. Overhead,
steel crosshairs entangle
the gathering clouds

and an impossible slice
of bald eagle carves itself
out of the atmosphere.

There is the lithe contour
of the naked cottonwoods,
then only the wide expanse

of open sky,
or the occasional
flicker of bird

to remind you of
the many imprints
you left behind.

Why Not Tonight?

light a candle
turn on warm water
let it flood over you
run your fingers through
     your hair

light the fire
turn down the covers
let them cover you
run your eyes across
     the pages

light the canvas
turn on the colors
let them unfurl and
run into
     each other

light your imagination
turn off your mind
let your muse
run out through
     your heart

The Fish

listen.                   I am  
more than            a fish
bubbling               swimming
words                   around, I am
living                     deep
inside of                dark
spaces                  between the
silent                      oceans.

What Love is This?

I have seen the orange lily
turn to face the sun,

and have listened
to soft tears of farewell

fall beneath the apple tree. 
I watched a hundred geese

paint triangles across
the sky, calling in concert

with shared ambition, and
saw the snow melt

into the river, into the sea.
But I also met something

dark and formless
that wanted so much
to be love, but could seize
only the wind as it wailed

past my neck and disappeared
over the mountain.