An Unexpected Guest

in the margin between awake and asleep autumn leaves suspend, horizontal in the air above my bed the odor of wet dirt asleep or awake dead spirits waltz embraced to your kind tenor an elbow against my rib between awake and asleep blanketed limbs hollow, levitate above outstretched hands my child eyes blink in the margin awake or asleep (2008)

Dear Mary

I am writing this letter by the dim glow of my old Boy Scout flashlight. I hope you can read my handwriting. It is midnight. A train has just rushed past me. The railroad track, still warm, hums when I press my ear against it. The cold, damp air weaves into my jean jacket. And I am eating Western Family strawberry yogurt and drinking Perrier. (Sorry about the yogurt smudge.)

Ring Out, Wild Bells

I'm happy that one of the church congregations I met with on Sunday sang Tennyson's “Ring Out, Wild Bells.” Although the lines about the old year dying (“let him die”) sound morbid, they remind me of two New Year's Eves that I spent in Colombia, South America, where people made straw effigies of the old year and sat them by their front doors. These life-sized, scraggly-dressed straw men were often filled with unimaginably large firecrackers.

Inpsired by the Kokinshū

I. now that your dreams can climb the trees that grow on mountain peaks they will embrace this wind like waves of wisteria II. after the night fell ashamed I buried my heart with leaves and grass and earth but even the stones became kindling to a flame III. when the pain has gone and my breath is no longer shallow as this mountain stream the pulse of my heart will be