These Teachers

I meant to turn back
hours ago,
but the sage,
but the river,
but the evening sun
on my shoulders
and the path
that leads up
and up, the whoosh
of air as it parts
for the sparrow,
the scent
of juniper
and remains
in a constant
state of arrival,
the sole
of my shoe
leaves an imprint
in the dust, a heart
shaped rock,
and this quiet
prayer that one
does not lose
these earthly
but rather,
becomes them.



This old train bridge,
smelling of creosote,
says Please Do Not Climb,
but instead my urge
is to lie down in the river,
to let water cold as glaciers
from the white mountains
fill me everywhere
with the clarity
of melted sky.

On the trail, an anomaly
of shredded grass,
a tuft of fur.
What raucous
happened here?

I look for eagles in the tallest tree
and instead I see a robin,
the most regular of birds,
perched on the pinnacle of a branch
where sometimes the eagles are.
Well, I can see those in my own backyard,
and still I am moved
by this morning,
by the thin pane of ice
that barely exists atop the shaded wetlands
stinking of living sulphur.

The cattails are frozen
like rodents roasting on spits,
it’s easy to laugh
at one’s own thoughts,
equal parts frost and sunshine
on a morning in early spring,

I know that water under the bridge
is already a thing,
and also, I would be hard pressed
to say it any better,
standing here on this bridge as I am,
with time passing swiftly underneath
and water, the color of smoke,

and perhaps it is silly
that we say a thing at all,
becoming so focused on the river
that we forget about
the mountain.

Rabbit Hole

Down from the tawny

mountain, ambling,

as a January afternoon

unrolls toward the black

bricked fireplace where you

will stack logs extracted

from fresh-cut summer

piles, and perhaps discover

the difference between

how a man makes a fire

and how a woman

makes one.  Burgundy

velvet detour, couch

pillows haphazard,

swallow you into the

ceiling patched one

hundred times.  Books

stacked, encyclopedias,

brown and gold backdrop,

a grandfather’s collection

and the new amp tag

hangs over a rainbow

of pastel pedals – reverb,

wah-wah, compression,

orderly perfection

of sweet disarray

to the boot stomp

and the dust cloud

rising, a puff for every

beat.  Mad music upsurge

from the red rug island,

a drummer’s first touch,

punk rock, homemade,

notes inlay in oil paints

on the sequined walls

of this Saturday rabbit

hole, magic, and glad

to follow Alice, one

more song before

we ramble on home.


In the rainforest,
life and death
at the same time,
in various stages of
green to brown
and in between.

What is the gravity
of the white moon
on the human body?

Barefooting along
the forest path,
she describes
the information
that she gathers
through her feet.

We are water
and so
is the sea,
salty and
with false edges.

Night music fills
the shadow places
of the half moon.

You pull a human skull
from the grotto. The spinal hole,
foramen magnum,
lets in the idea of sunlight
for the first time
in a century or more.

Three generations tell stories
of the things they have seen
so far. They pass the bread.
They pass the wine. Three
generations listen. They pass
the salt. They pass the water.

Brief Walk

For twenty minutes today
I walked in the sunshine
and it was enough,

this body like a rind,
with something sweet inside,
and no less compostable.

I have known love,
the touch of a mouth,
and I too have tasted.

We are not the sum
of what we have been,
nor the story of what

we will be. We are
the wind on skin, the scent
of melting snow turned

to clay, the ears
through which to funnel
birdsong. The horses

walk across the pasture
to meet me. I see something
in their eyes that reminds

me of something old,
or the part of myself
that I have always known.

My eyes are
a many colored screen
on which a life projected

flickers with a song
and then dissolves
to blackness.

Old Woman

Remind me to get off on
being an old woman,
to love this husk

of body even as
it peels away
from all that is left

of me. Tell me,
in no uncertain terms,
to celebrate 

the letting go, the falling
away and the eventual
discarding. Please read

to me a poem
about love
when soft shapes

and colors
are all that are left
of my vision,

and pink sunrise walks
have receded to dreams.
Remind me

about freedom,
and of the great,
dark mystery

that I spent
a lifetime trying
to understand.


Even the
pebbles cast
black shadows
long, like
zebra stripes
across the
dusty trail.
And long,
your shadow
too, speechless
and stretching
up the
hillside ripe
with yellow
cactus bloom.
All evening,
you are
quiet with
your questions,
stopping only
to replace
the silver
grass between
your teeth,
or to
sit and
watch the
last speckled
patch of
sunlight fading
on the
river, rippled
water moving
in and
out, and
in again.