Clouds and Trees

"Nothing ever goes away enough or arrives enough,/ and I want to cry when I think of my heart,/ muscle pounding in muscle, greedy always for joy." – 'A Warning', Eric Anderson

Month: November, 2010


I was irresponsible
almost obsessively so
I watched the grass grow green on the back porch
then turn gray with the stone
It took me almost a month
to brush off the dust
and breathe in a cloud
of something new gone old
I have spent a long time
coughing up a lover
from the very bottom of my throat



The pill is a better blue and white
than waves and seafoam
the same pounding
the same sweeping
no one’s footprints
lifted from feet
Were those mine?
Or have I become water, breathing?

The sea from above
the caps of waves
like capsules
like toenail clippings
scattered below me
or aligned
on my crosshatch carpet

Now from below
I am choking–
the pill, like the drink it’s swallowed with
can taste not unlike breathing
But drowning perpetually
held down by the hand of a friend
who’s already developed her medicinal gills
can’t replace lungs


My eyes are trained
to see the air
from inside

I cannot see everything
but enough
to know what’s real
and what isn’t

Winter Ghazal

The cold sun steps out through the clouds
“I’m just a star, not a god, please forgive me”

The tree collapses back into itself
“I reached for the sky; the ground, forgive me”

The crow spits all its feathers back out
the only song it knows called “forgive me.”

I open the windows just to feel the cold’s mouth.
There are not enough blankets for you, forgive me.

The rain soaks; it can’t see from the sky
“This is the only way I can speak, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me

“Del Rigor en La Ciencia”

Sometime in childhood
I invite you to the fountain in my front-yard
Thinking this is water we can float in;
play games together–
“Blue Heron, Smallmouth Bass”
a game I learned from the river
“Drown the Leader”
we taught each other

Nowadays you tie wrists
around my neck; kiss me
Tell me how to trust Intuition
(a game nature plays)
not to trust Intellect
(the game we have to unteach ourselves)

We lie back in the fountain then
look at maps of “New York City proper” drawn in
bits of paper on my chest
which are washed
then fountained
back onto our bodies again


I expect Love to come
from the Heart of God


Interesting, then, that god speaks

Sometimes in thunderclaps,

Sometimes in other kinds of friction–

Wind through leaves
grass and tree branches,
air that creaks in floorboards,
ceiling beams, and bed-springs

In warm breath
falling behind my ears
saying, sometimes, I love you
through god’s softest voice-box

I roll over,
look into loving eyes
admit I’m not religious
and kiss you to sleep


My Daughter —

When you are born
something will be missing from me.

I will kiss you on your forehead,
watch your hair grow out in wisps,

and I will wonder what love is.

Our cat is very special to me.
My father knows me deeply.

But I am afraid
of strangers in my house;
of stones in my riverbed.


If you were made out of water
maybe it would be easier for you

to seep in between
the door and door-frame

I could blame you, then,
for the peeling paint on my ceiling

and the stain on my bed

I could write
in the fog you’d leave on my window-pane

A smile and saltwater is
no way to leave me;
sodden, soggy

I wish you could make up
more than 70% of me