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. ❤













the silence is a steep silo around me:

comforting and suffocating.


i have to get inside it every day.


my vessel with feet of clay is a

blue bulb breaking—


spilling angry-beautiful



i look up through the tiny window

to see tiny leaves clapping:


calling for a


as you were

i remember you.
i remember a
city on a hill, a
porch on the watch,

a storm born, brooding;
a catafalque of calm
before the god-breath of
wonder and wrath:

a storm-flooding.

i remember
as you were.
i remember

within the bower,
atop the tower,
the crow’s nest
power of a

rock climb. an indian
wrestling with
spirits and sounds
placed down on a

spinning record in time. i
remember the line:
i saw a tree by the
river side. i remember

you as you are.

walking ’round the
curling star-ring of fire,
wandering across night
fields between measures

of steps of twisted-beautiful
human error, humming
under the exigent
knowledge of a grand

design, an owl hoot, a
compass-in-pocket, a
grid of green destiny
set down beneath kindred

hoofs, outside silent fox
holes where we atone
for our atom door
again and again;

through which our
magnum opus
crawls, a trinket
trinity hanging by a

thread, positing,

bound to its own
grief, bathing in the
pounding out of so
many heart beats:

humanity. divinity. humility. love.

here, where the
chief pulse perseverates
across the face
of God.

honor system

if i have to die

being hunted,

being chased and cornered and cut –

i want it to be

at the behest

of an animal:

a lion, bear, wolf, shark;

by the sharp eyes and teeth

of something hungry,

something in need,

something that can’t know

greed or hate

or how to ameliorate

my pain.

the passing of pax romana

she sits in her space and feels a stirring,

much like the wind, much like a calling

to another place not yet

known, not yet her own:

her fingers buzz with forbidden

magic; her mind moves mountains.

the invisible warrings

of love write themselves

quietly on the back-side

of her heart-quilt, sewn in

tight like jewels, like journals

coming alive on the inside linings

of her organs, playing out

their orange chicanery.

just outside the monastery

of her own making, she

gazes at her mother repeatedly

riding in on the tide, her spirit

slipping into her shell sides;

she holds the best close

to her core and lets

the rest follow back

with the moon.

in this room for the living

in this room for the living,

this calico chirping


in the window, thinking

she is a red, red robin;


this lantern singing,

this green brush growing


her lush periwinkle comb,

grooming me into the next


branching under which i am

disarmed by the charms


of soft pine stories, gently

pressing their charges


against me as i walk,

walk, walk into dissolve.


to serve and preserve


they cut down all of the trees, the

bushes, the crawling ivy and

delicately curling sinews of

grass and time. the birds

are calling to each other,

calling to us, looking for

their homes. i am still-seeking

a space: a quiet-green

carapace to call my own, to

borrow in this brief

breath of time. who needs

a throne when you have been

given all of the vast-purple

riches of the universe?