In the pregnant pause.

If the edge
if the fall
if the downpour
or a sudden neglect
of the next breath
if in the heat to the land
of no light the blind prophet
will not come, if the wailing
starts again, if the Edens are
forever gone and the third day
brings no relief and the next call
no answer if the cold brings the
ships again––or won’t, please do
not lay this down while you are
here. Please, stay
for the carrying
until there is

The Missing

To call but not back.

Certain loves move this way, entire lives

sharing only this admission in the end:

I do not know you anymore. And yet. Will you?

––a refrain and its penance, demanded.

It varies. Who is addressed.

Maybe this is the crux of our want.

To be challenged, then absolved.

We went out looking for the animals,

but the animals had gone. They ran

from their names. We had to admit.

That it was possible we had the wrong


The Supplicants

Shift change at the city gates.

The turning happened where we almost ended, feeling the old king’s gaze, the walls of his long sleep around him, each drowsy syllable dripping from the mouth a study in the effects of subatomic explosions. 

How long? We wondered, had been wondering. We shivered, had been shivering, naked in the shadow of the fortress. The next cold rain started a whisper among us, in the direction of concessions. What was the point? with the freeway cars above us hissing Yes. 

We could have run then. I think we almost did. But one dropped her knees to the grass and then her ear, and we followed, to hear who was coming beneath our soles to be counted, even now.

Hello, Stranger

What you notice in a morning.

Sometimes you sit here over coffee wanting to address these birds in the tree limbs just outside, each fluttered wing an aria unto itself. To say to them, sing me and know they know you mean it, how you want to be home already, somewhere. And hear an answer well enough to let you finally weep to see it.

The Sisters

In the late days of long wars.

We wanted to mend, so kept company with our mothers’ ghosts. Our yesterdays were wounded and came to us until every bed was full. 

O muse. Your song was bleeding out. 

We brought cloths and went to you. We wrapped you tight and held against the flow. It entered then.

We are still, holding. 

The Grounded

Regarding nearby deaths.

We would smell it sometimes, just outside, beneath the porch. Once we heard its scream at midday. We were in somber clothes with serious faces, lining at a wake. To pay our respects, we said. Until it called us out. 

Still, each of us held our private reserves of deflection. We flexed budding wings beneath dark clothes, planned our escapes. We dreamed in altitudes, had ideas about the next to go. We watched for drape of eyes over landscapes and their shine at recollections of near brushes. These almost always involved driving, when the rush of speed before it ended promised to finally know its peak.

Complaint from the Ground

Regarding the ongoing restoration project.

And I watched another raging hero with the priest, disputing the last claim to spoils of war––at the end of another bloody year, another daughter’s ransom, and the muzzled prophet muted, and I know you sent your heralds, but their words were weak against the noise. You said I had to learn to let things be as they are, but who was I to untie myself of every assumption inherited at altitude? Even the clouds are flying now from the weight of this constellation of atoms, held fast while the widening day goes on, denying all assurances that tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow will return from the place where it flew off right now, to somewhere past the sight lines, out of reach.

Storm Surge

And a turning point.

In the waiting room, I wanted

to say–––something, because

such places, with their anxious hum

always seem to want relief. From

the pretense of containment,

or into song. But when it was time

I left and the hot wind hit

my eyes which slid across

folded falcon wings as if

to learn how my own hands

clutching plastic bags

might know that poise.

A nest nearby, its swallow

gone, a lilting plainsong

behind me. I turned, eyes

wide, to trace the mouth

of the storm’s long suggestion

in the ears as though to 

blow me empty. Howl,

I wanted then, as now, to 

share some sighting 

with another face.