we are always building

i miss the feeling of shaking

from something other than


anger, other than fear. i go

to my window and look for the


little flowers of hope. they are

every where; fragments amid


very long sentences: the swallow

tail, the barn swallow, the migrating


monarch. your energy goes where it’s

needed; there, it meets the energy it needs.


fire is friction.

imagine these are real:


a tiny wild child on your knee,

a tired dictator on the other, the


view of your own face from the

inside; they are all in the arena


with you: daring greatly.

we are always building: bridges,


portals, spirals, spaceships—

without knowing. all the


water droplets are being

summoned into one


stream, here at the

intersection of all things.




forgive me, father

forgive me, father

for i have sinned;


it’s been fifteen days

since my last poem.


these first baby steps

are weird and wonder-


ful; i wonder where

they are taking me.


maybe to you—to the

brightest thing in my life.


let me know where

your heart is;


let me know your

words so i can


steal them away:

the purest relation-


ship, you say, preserved

in this crystalline distance.


can you see them? the pink

clouds rowing through the sky?


humming right along-

side? we’re almost there.

i want to read you

i want to read you;

i want to feel your words

slip over me, pull me into

their tide, strip me down with

their waves without trying.


i want to listen to the music

of your thought, follow it

into the forest, happen upon

a leprechaun and wood spryte

making gold, making love.


i want the letting of all this

matter into energy; these

disguises to fall away, the

memories of mountain-tops

to sway in their return.


i want to deep-dive into a

painting of a thousand sun-

sets, moments spent think-

ing of you; of our writing, of

our meeting: one and the same.

snap shot 2

We remember and forget things on a daily basis. If we could retain everything we have ever remembered—or perhaps never forget it in the first place—we would be different beings. Forgetting may be a blessing—the mind’s way of coping with this insidious loop of existence. How else could we get up and do the same things over and over again? Maybe the forgetting was a curse. Or was it the remembering?

These thoughts came to Lee as she dragged herself once again out of her dreams, out of the deep remembering that came to her each night. She was usually in a forest, in a fog of stories without words, surrounded by things you just know in your bones, things that make you run and jump and fly and hunt. Things that let you escape humanity and become the elements that make up the dreams of others, that make up the universe. Things that don’t require bones but that know them to their core.

Upon waking, she could feel the familiar forgetting wrapping around her like a bathrobe. Sometimes it came in the form of a coffee cup or phone notification. She could have stayed in that wordless world forever—and maybe one of these times she would. But the crash of the recycling bins outside had jarred her out of sleep. At first it melded with her dream, and she was rushing to try to gather all of the bottles, boxes, and cans from the week to get them to the curb in time. There used to be many more bottles. She was trying to cut back.

She had fallen asleep in the living room again, beside the simmering fireplace, with the window cracked. It was like sleeping by a campfire, the contrast of the soft heat and cool air bringing her back to a place of childhood and longing. There was something addictive about a fire, the measured build of the elements as heat met paper met wood met air—the initial catch, the crackling increase, the leap of flames, the slow burn of embers. It was like a birth and a death—right at her fingertips—and it warmed the room beautifully.

Lee was avoiding her bedroom. She had been for weeks—ever since the holidays. The pillowy couch by the fireplace was only comfortable to a point, and then her back would start to ache. But something was keeping her from that room, from that big, firm bed. She thought she knew what, she thought she had it figured out, but then she would forget. In the meantime, she continued to make fires, sandwiches, phone calls.

She checked her phone, first for the time (and to see how many times she had hit snooze), and then for the regular dose of notifications. There were only a few this morning, nothing to really stimulate her to fully wake. She got distracted by a cat video and then a news parody, and found herself laughing before her coffee—which was rare. Not really laughing, but slightly snickering as she stretched and pulled herself up out of the couch cushions.

It was cold and overcast, and she sucked in the air as she gazed out the window. She could smell the eventual passing of winter, the tiny hint of spring, the desire to run through a field or chop some wood or take off in a canoe. Instead, she followed the well-worn path to the coffee maker.

The house would be as quiet as she wanted it. Sophie would sleep until noon. There was no school today. It was Martin Luther King Day.

I have a dream.


to enjoy what was

take me to your timberline,

show me where your true self ends


and your truer self begins.

i want to see in:


i want the spiral of a dream to take me

out of time,


put me in the womb,

put me on the edge of battle,


put me in the pack

chasing survival;


to forget the forgetting,

to feel the source,


to see the spine of life continuing

as it passes through doors.


to enjoy what was

is to carve joy


into what is,

into what will be again:


it is all the same clay, the same

tools, the same deep grooves.


you call me to the fire, and

i answer with water;


and we sit at the edge of the mountain

and conspire to love.







poem in your pocket: not your normal ode


i don’t trust

pants without pockets.

i don’t trust myself

to wear them, to not

have that container—like a

bucket but so much closer—

to not suddenly drop my phone,

your number, my own hand

straight down my back/side.

the kangaroo has the

right idea: built-in

storage. if we had a

skin pocket, i suppose

i would want to carry you

around in mine. unless i

was being carried in yours.

we could take turns—at least

until the baby came.

i don’t trust a poem

that can be kept in a pocket.

it should be a siren: burning

a hole straight through and out.

it should burn the pants

right off you—right

down to the ground.

a good poem is all the lies and all the truths

you have ever told, rolled up into a tidy

scroll, for just a moment, and then—charging

forward and backward and upward and downward and

every which wayward to take out an entire block—

like a bulldozer, like a flock of flying rhinoceros.

i don’t trust a person

who can be kept in a pocket,

who wants to pocket another.

if i were to carry you around in mine,

it would be for just a tiny time,

until you gathered the dark heat you needed,

until you chewed your way out:

slowly, gorgeously,

letting me feel your teeth

as you broke into the world

to be heeded again.

this isn’t what i expected to write on

poem in your pocket day.

but when do we ever know

exactly what we are going to say,

what is going to break out of all

of our invisible burning pockets?

if you always do, shame on you.


nothing is too much to ask

wheel of the body:







:burrow of the mind


nothing is

too much

to ask


like looking into a

mirror of time


we starve

our iron sides


of these gifts


what do you want

to be when you grow


up is really just what

do you want, which is


to say: to be happy


to walk and not faint

to wear talismans of

fury and fervor


to strike love into

things like plants


to long for spirit as

one longs to under

stand a language


longs to hear the

words and to





but we are terrified

of the elements


out of balance with

our own making


strutting the curb

side of the spine


while distant stars set the stage:

all of life, a carbon-dazzled


dizzying maze

leading to infinite


chains of



we perch on the edge


facing the throne in

stead of occupying it


instead of going in

for the steep feel


we do not own our space


we habitually lean in,

lean to the power of


another tower


we—innovators with

wings as eagles, with


veins as volcanoes; deep

enough for the hurt—


mount up and ride

out to meet them.