for Keelie

my mind leans from
happy memories to the
last quiet labored days
I didn’t see

Blessed are the meek

it rises from an
unknown place
and muscles
clench in my jaw
and wrack my teeth

Blessed are the spirit-poor

she understood teeth
and her own smiled like
reflected water even
through God’s disappointing

Blessed are the sufferers

it rises from my chest
and catches fast
in my neck
where it sticks for a while

Blessed are the thirsty

she knew him and trusted
no matter what
even when her body
cried and battered
itself through prayers

Blessed are the pure

my brow furrows
and eyes try to draw
themselves in so they
won’t break open
visible to earth

Blessed are the oppressed

wasn’t she mercy?
wasn’t she peace?

It rises ahead
and my strained face
draws a line with
a single tear in

Blessed mourner

No. 19

Speak memory—

Of long-gone journeys
And their scent accord.
Let me breathe in the past
And inhale the fragrant moments
Remembered only by sweater
Scents and wet earth.

Remembrance escapes all
Except the perfumed days
When my senses were sharp
With top notes, the animalic desires
Of youth, wine, and roses.

The middle years wrapped
My hours baby soft and warm
With the striking incense of
Humanity’s beauty and the foul
Necessary of motherhood

The base notes of time
Given are the pungent
Aroma of decline and bouquets
I can’t recall. Like the decaying
Aoud, what is left behind is yours.

My only claim
The rich and time-worn
Redolence of a spent bottle.

No. 19

Handful of Cockle Shells

cockle shells

Scrolling sand and tracing circles,
We’re writing novels with one finger until
The ocean sweeps in and spirits away our
Thoughts to read later.

We say cheers and clink together
A handful of cockle shells,
Longing to open one and pull out a fortune.

I said luck is a ghost crab.

You shrug an “Oh well.”
“Never mind that, we’ll wait for high tide.”
Instead we wait for the surge
Near a diamond shoal.

Blessing the dusky blue clouds, you
Tell me they match my eyes.
In weakness I smile and whisper,
“You mean stormy.”

You said love is a jetty.

I want to let the sea wash over me, but you
Point to the shore and we laugh at candy-
Colored coquinas, wiggling into the sand like
Shy children under salt water blankets.

You ask me to dance in the hurricane,
I ask “Can I stand on your feet?”
We spin like the air
While you hold me safe in the eye.

The Fire


it happens

then suddenly

rising with
an up and out
spilling from
the brazier’s mouth
life is ablaze

but living coals
weary of future past
flatten to shadows
of smoky ash
swallowing its sorrow

Cope’s Gray

before the nights grow
thick with heat
and damp
tear out the song of frogs
from my ears
their colloquy dropping
that clang and shatter
the silence of
years passed without
and drown out the
memory of our
conversations rich with

Untitled Dream

the marble relief of a man and horse in flight
could be written into a grand epic

an old villager heard my thoughts and said
it’s best to rethink it

some forgotten battle alone and outnumbered
running in retreat

the steed decided to turn galloping to the fight
running over the heads of their enemy

their heroic escape cut short with an
accidental leap into a boiling vat

the town’s embarrassment the old man said
the only document a proverb

something about never allowing your horse
an opportunity to make decisions

or to never name your son Kenneth
he forgot which


"A Cocoon", 2004, Painting, oil on panel. Nikolay Sazhin.

How quickly the empty house began to decay
Without a soul to breathe within

Standing water around its foundation revealed
Decades of lonely tears

Crippled walls crash in and that timeworn
Way groans out in agony

The burrow vanquished, in its place
Will rise a new home

Oh, but the razing is neither death nor destruction
To a hollow, broken facade

The suffering is metamorphosis, beloved
You are being reborn