Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the close of winter

We fight against the close
of winter
with our drive to go
on, not to stop
and sleep or beautifully

With blades and spades
we further our path
though we don’t know where
we are going, or

and in our deepening desire
for meaning, the snow
also deepens
around our tired knees.

It would be so simple
to let it stop
us, if we could believe
the stopping would not
do us in

if the in were actually where
the living is. If being
alone was really enough.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


For weeks I have had pain in my front tooth, which is capped. It all began with a lunch hour nap in my office. Last week, I began to think I might need a root canal. Doesn't that procedure bring terror? Thankfully now root canals are quite benign compared to the pain, and so I was resigned to it when I went to the dentist Monday to check on the tooth. After an x-ray, Dr. Stone said I don't need a root canal. Joy, relief! He proceeded to file down the cap so that it wouldn't nip my lower teeth. I sleep at night with a bite plate because I clench my teeth (called bruxism), which has eased sensitivity in my teeth over the years almost completely. But, when I take a nap on my office couch, I don't have my bite plate. Perhaps that should change.


My teeth throb
after waking from a nap

on my office couch. I clench
my teeth in the forest

of sleep where mind-snakes
glissade across branches.

How many they are! Metallic,
white as chalk, mortally

virulent in the heel of my
spirit. Consciously, I try

to hold my jaw open
like the gate of my head

against the kilim pillow
where a tribe of stick men

armed with blue and red
woolen stitches hold firm

against embroidered beasts.
But as sleep moves its cloud

across my face, a small
warrior clamps shut my mouth.

Awake, I feel in the great walls
of my teeth that this fortress

held true against marauders,
quiet now, asleep

alas — inside the tower!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Peanuts, peanuts in a bowl,
floral blue and white,

old Chinese porcelain blue
like the sky today, an upturned

bowl on pedestal trees. You
remember two days ago

when it all dumped out — rice,
wet and sticky while we watched

disbelieving from these windows,
thinking the world could never

go hungry with so much falling.
But today grackles — naked, poor,

immaculate — prove the nothing
that I know under the tree,

peanuts disappearing
from the bottom of my bowl.