House of Stone

Your plot wrought
with removal, you strip
down the holy
with soulless measures,
measured in cheap changes
less assessed
than the weight of gold,
objects objectified,
lawless laws,
you claim just cause
to shield your flaws.
Our bodies were built
for the erotic,
ripe fire of sorrow and light,
limbs carved by lust,
by loss, by life.

From these blessed depths,
your soul
erupted like a sting,
wrath of vacuous uncertainty,
you reduce this sacred
house of embers
to cold stone,
stone cold, alone
you build a house of sticks
to hold us in,
your broken words
and vicious gaze,
eyes, violent
in their vacant haze,
you are lazy,
crazy,
for we have known love,
our bodies were made for it,
the way we move
or don’t move,
an act of freedom,
and do you feel
the passing brush of liberation
while you sit
with your broken mirrors
in a crowded room
and build your wall
from the granite
she gave you?

My children know the word grope,
make jokes
about men who use
their daughters
who are mothers.
We are mothers
and daughters,
and we expect more
from our fathers,
red tie nooses your head
to your heart like a balloon,
it might float away.
May your discord
be our kindling.

No bully words
will ever carve
like this heart.
Our house is made of marble,
lit by our lips
and our service,
all things beating now.
Wings rise like a tide,
you’ll be tattered
in the gale we make,
you shake,
somewhere deep inside
you watch the stone,
though you may not know it,
as freedom cracks
the limestone coffin.
This drumbeat comes from the earth,
your words, slippery fish,
will swim away like shadows,
away like cold hands
on an electric body,
feverish
with a passion
you tried to wet
like a wick,
now the bright candle
in a dark room,
ignited.

On Breathing

Wild roots find earth and this is how we fly,
our bodies free beneath the weight of bone,
when hands rise up like wings, become the sky,
each sweet breath climbs us closer to the sun,
and ballast from these thoughts becomes the rain,
falls into each pain I’ve guarded from you,
my vessel flooded, cracks without refrain,
as what moves inside me, moves inside you.
The inhalation opens up the gate,
the exhalation tills the solid ground,
the in and out and in and out of it,
soft feathers on the wind the only sound,
and so near silence, all wings become one
as breath moves in and out and in again.

Emancipation

Three and a half years
since I’ve cleaned
these gutters. Leaves

turned to grey
confetti and finally
to dirt. In my hands,

mulch comes out in
satisfying clumps
the size of banana bread.

Others have offered
to clean these channels,
and for fourteen seasons

I declined –even
as the rains sloshed
unceremoniously

over the bulging sides,
even as snow turned
glacier slid down

the burdened rooftop
with nowhere to go –
precarious slabs of blue

that told the story
of neglect. But today,
in the quiet springtime,

I remove, finally,
the obstruction,
thinking sometimes,

the things we know
we need to do
simply have to wait.

Minnesota Creek

Up past Lily Lane,
winter tires sink deep
into January

mud, and the road
gets twisty
beneath the width

of a silver truck.
Fields tattooed
with the feet

of ruddy cattle
give way to high
country ranchland,

and we drive
over sparkling passes
and into the sky,

into the cold, clean air
like the wild geese,
honest and free,

living our lives
like this
on a Saturday,

flying toward sunlight
and into
the great blue.

Prospect Bowl

This is the freedom
that is yours. Yes, the wind
that roars to lift you away,
skis mounted on your shoulder
like a kite unfurling with each blast.
Yes, the ridge line that grabs
your boots and dangles
you over the seamless
sky. Yes, the icicles that grow
between the nose and mouth,
your watering eyes,
and frozen hair forgotten.
And yes, the rush
of silence as your skis hang
over nothing before tipping
into white gravity. Yes,
the motion of the body, the stillness
of the mind. Yes, the wanting. Yes,
the stepping outside. Yes, the giving
of yourself to this. Yes, the falling,
the surrender, the touching
of a beauty that could breathe
your life – yes,
yes, yes.