haiku 11 p.m.

two black flies buzzing
about the white cube of light
within the lampshade

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Radiology in Winter Moonglow*

These long December nights
when the world is enigmatized
in snow and the eerie moonglow

makes me feel as though I am
on the moon myself, a strange
monochromatic sensation like

x-rays of my past and future
selves with all their worn-down
joints and collarbone knittings,

I cannot help but think of how
it would be if you were here
with me and we could see

each other in this light, skin
and bones and all the dark
and secret places made light.

 

*December 2013

Turtles All the Way*

of the salt and the light

(reprinted for an old friend)

talk of salt
that preserves
and salt
that stings the open wound

love is
the most terrible addiction
biochemically
my neuroscientist
agreed

and she would know
so I thought
of salt
from the side
of the deer
and the garden slug

as I traced my finger
slowly my tongue
around the rim
of the glass
fingers to lips
slow circles
tongue
salty skin

around the rim
of the world
the salty sea
like blood
flowing
in the river
of the arid land-
scape of my heart-
ache and

it’s the salt
in my eyes
or the red light
of the sun
drowning
at the rim of the world

where I peered
over the edge
to the monster-
ous tortoise back
and I asked her
what’s below
and she said
it’s turtles
all the way down

 

*title of a new bestseller by the YA author John Green

Gathering

I am gathering old poems for my next book…

The Properties of Light

i. dream light

I dream you drenched in river light
hazy       opalescent       matutinal
flickery moth wings in your strawberry
hair      then lightning      sudden cloud
burst     drenched again     cotton
sticking to skin     a reason for
disrobing

ii. sunflowers in fall

Their round faces
hang heavy, Earthward
like yellow-haired angels
weary of Heaven’s light.

They are big flowers
made of little flowers
arranged in spirals
like little galaxies

The way all Creation
descends from the same
mitochondrial code –
some call it God.

Bees feed on the pollen
and are yellow and brown
same as the flowers
of which they are made

So that every living thing
is suffused with light
and becomes light,
blooming with radiant energy.

Beneath the small flowers
that already are falling,
having given their gold,
are neat rings of seeds

Awaiting winter, when birds
will peck them apart
to feed the hunger
of that lightless season.

This is the miracle,
how light feeds flowers
and bees and birds
who scatter the seeds

To grow anew next spring.

iii. light, its opposite

A beam of light
passing through light
casts no shadow,

Is the invisible thing
that makes visible
all other things.

Love, too, is invisible,
but always casts a shadow,
even on darkest nights.

Especially.

Poets Without Windows

I don’t think poets
do well without windows,

She said from her desk,
watching the world go by.

Here I am, on the street,
a pedestrian peering in

Though the old storefront
with just this pane of glass

Between us. Glass is not
a liquid, not exactly,

It’s an amorphous solid,
rigid in structure but arranged

With haphazard molecules
that let most of those persistent

Photons past without making
a scene, turn but a few away,

And trap within fewer still.
The light that passes through

Is how we see each other
almost as we truly are.

The light that is reflected
is how we see ourselves

Through the eyes of the other.
And the light the glass absorbs

Is the restless energy that warms
the space between us.

I watch until you look up
from your work, a quick glance

Toward the street that either
noticed or saw right through me

And sent me on my way
wondering about poets

Who do not do well
without windows.