but the trees said


i left and came back

many times.


i almost left

for good,


but the trees said



the blue mountain air

called across the miles,


across the



held me in its warm

wooded hands


and breathed back

what i needed.


this imprint, this point

of reference and reverence,


takes me out of body,

out of present:


places me



the portal

to my larger self—


the goddess fortress:

where inner child,


inner voices, and

wise woman


are all held in

unison; where


everything needed is

right here: huddled within


and beneath and atop these

great pine branches;


where we can



and feel











of two matryoska dolls



in our

dreams we


are mostly mouths.

we open at the center,


join two hollows. painted faces

hold years of words,    of wounds,



the patina of warm hands    twisting.



we    take    turns          devouring.

each night, dream, decade—we


fine-tune: some day we will

walk right out of this


festoon and into

each other.







i’m sitting in the er again

with the one i’m still attached to,

the one who still loves me, hurts me.


once upon a time: the one


i’ve begun the de-tangling,

de-numbing, de-membering:

a cutting declaration.


you have to go

all the way back

to the beginning:


you came

into this world

as love.


how that love

was or was not received

was not up to you.


it still isn’t.


your part becomes: when

to walk away, when to close the

gate, when to forge a new blade—


when you’ve had enough;

when you keep

coming back to:


you are still the one who hurt me.


and maybe there’s a child; and maybe

there’s twenty some odd years; and maybe

there’s a church, a house, a library of memory.


but there’s still the searing pain

and urge to burn the abyss

and need to fly——far, far away.


the truth is:

the child is no longer

a child.


we are each here

now on our

own terms:


green shifting to blue.


we are still a circle,

but with more branches

to balance out our roots.

mess and bliss

the snow is here

to greet me home;


ice blossoms coat

freeze frame trees.


i keep putting things

back in the box


—so i can breathe—


like when

we were kids


and had to put

one thing away


before taking out

some thing new.


how i anguished to bring

the pieces together:


the fairy, the fawn, the

lego, the dragon, the pawn.


i knew they all belonged

in the world.


how is she still in the world?


i let my own child play

with every thing at once,


until pure chaos ensues.

she doesn’t like to be told


what to do. many games have

lost their pieces and rules—


but their shells

are    beautiful.


amid lizards and cats and

dominoes and blocks; penguins and


cards and marbles and rocks; dice and

jacks and cherries and ships:


she stands    tall

in her mess and bliss.




of a piece

it’s building      inside her:

a steep–sharp that can’t find its way out.

it will devour her either way.


sometimes she doesn’t shower for days.

she doesn’t want to be any where near



she has to let it break down,

escape through her

blood, sex, waste ; eyes, pores, mouth.


but first she must shatter:

let the pieces conspire to make

the long trek     across    her flat heart.


she knows that death

is just another death,

is just another       revolving door.


after that we become

myth; fly in and out of

bodies, species, truth.


she’s been running her whole life

and is still not equipped:

but any one can fall off a cliff.


she waits for the wolves

to come into her scent;

she and it and they are strong.

gray squirrel in winter (for mary)


the trees are bare and

giving up some of their

secrets. i watch a gray

squirrel run: up, down;


up, down; burnt orange

leaves in his mouth. he moves

like a giant inchworm, his

quick legs leading as his


thick rolls follow. he has

chosen a thin, crooked oak

amid the pines and poplars.

she sways just a bit, unlike her


straighter neighbor, who can

sway a foot or more when

the big winds come. as his small

body scurries, hugs the gray-


brown bark, i wonder if he’s aware

of the rising sun behind him;

of the glow beyond the mountains;

of the great height of the tree—


so focused is he

on growing that dark

clump in the

small fork.


his agility and

grace repeat as he

leaps from the

middle of one


tree to the

top of the

next, caught

in the abundant orange.


i wonder if he’s counting:

steps, trips, leaves; if he’s full—of

angst, joy, dreams. or maybe

that’s just me. at the end


of the day, he will curl

into his bed of acorns

and leaves, rocked

to sleep by the wind.


I discovered after writing and posting this poem that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I mean, that’s just crazy.  I never knew such a day even existed. I think Mary Oliver had something to do with this little joke. ❤












light appears light

but can be heavy,


carried for decade-miles

inside these lantern bodies.


these machines with breath

are a bliss and a burden:


they flutter like compass



toward each other,



toward truth,



they blunder,

belie their divinity,


seek to fly off

the face.


only time will tell;

only clichés will fall away.


for now, this is the way

to the bird bath,


to the fat strawberries

along the wire fence,


to the fatter blackberries

along the tree line.


i listen to my self

falling asleep and


each breath is like god moss

cradling my head.