A suite of poems from 1993, which have never seen the light of day till now. It was one of those terrifying years when I leapt from a cliff without a net, into another life. I wrote these for my lover while we were separated by work for three months, peering into an uncertain future, sifting through our glories and our failures, looking at maps, wondering if we would ever find a home. We had spent our relationship on taking care of other people, working too many jobs, wearing too many hats — and just passing each other in the hallways.  We wanted to put an end to that. We didn’t  know where we were going, but we knew we were going together. We married the following year in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. We finally found each other. We are still here. [Saxapahaw, January, 2015]


Facing the Stubborn Questions

I came in at the end
to face the stubborn questions,
the ones that will not leave.
No one is with me.
No one wants to help.
The room has been unheated
for a while.
The questions are cold eggs.
So unappealing.

Much later,
I look up from weeping,
notice that
the windows of the room
are full of poets
waving answers
in their ancient hands.


On Finally Coming of Age

I get a finger-hold,
pull myself up
peek over a horizon into
half a century of yearning,
half a life
of coming to life.

How is it that
we come to be
the opposite of what
we needed young,
find bliss in that which
once we would have set aside?

Your hand is in my hair.
A fire, long winter.
Silent poems are carved into the walls.
A thick description of the ordinary
seeps up through the floor.
Cats nap. Time passes.
Our friends come by
who only want to sit.
That’s all.


Plain Sight

Oh I can see it now.
Your bench scarred by your saw.
Your rocks and weeds
and chrome and trash.
Your photos of your pets.
Your inner laugh.

You smoking, thinking.
sipping something.
All the while your eyes are
on a smooth bright surface
brash with paint.

Your short slim fingers
with their horny nails
reach knowingly
to rub the edges, quick.
And pleasure’s in the touch.

You hike your jeans
and get back to it,
making something no one else
has ever made before.

And all the while
there’s baseball on.
Nobody calls.
Oh I can see it now.
I finally can see it now.


Strawberry Blond

Precious, that hair.
Gold rush waving past your waist.
Brilliant even in the dark.

It takes my breath away.

It comes from you.
It came from Celts.
It smells like heather.

I love that you will bother
to adorn yourself this way.
A natural production
just like art.
It comes from thought
and feeling,
and wonder.
It holds our life,
our story.

Please keep it long until
the new hair’s grey
and we’ll remember how we met
and moved together
through the end
of these two thousand years.


The Wounding of the Bright

Fumbling in the dark
we stumble on,
as we must stumble,
back to base.

You fall. Your wound cracks open
and I cover you against the wind.
You cry into my coat
until I bind you up
and up we go,
the hills and gullies
testing us again.

I fall, and feelings slobber forth,
despairing, longing for the end.
You have to haul me to my feet
and lug me on your back.

What can we do but stumble on?
We lost our way some time ago
before the twilight fell.
But what more can we do?
What can we do?


These Choices

Of all the possibilities
there are choices
marked especially for you.
There are so many things
to do
but these things
only you can do.
In this, you are the one.

You alone can
mow your father’s yard
and own the dirt
that hugs his bones.

You alone can
walk your mother’s kitchen tiles,
shell peas beneath her tree.
Some choices shine
like quarters in a fountain.


What Waits

What waits for us out there
between the rocks and roads
where finally we find
the faith and luck
that lets us split the earth
and cultivate our seeds?

Where will our prayers
and hair and fingernails
wind up with all the leaves
and bark
and dark
beneath our porch?

And when we reach that minute
where the sun slides red
into our final country
and the falling dusk
curls up around our house,
the house ticks softly
while it groans into our sleep –
how will we know that this is it,
that it will last?

When will we lie together knowing
we will live forever so?
And, tell me,

yurt pond