Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 26 (Werifesterra)

May 26 (Werifesterra)

Last night I heard the first crickets of the year
and the first click and hum of air-conditioning units

five hours before my own calendar page turned over again–
I was in the woods of my mind, looking for a word that never lived

in the way some look for creatures that cannot be
where they have been seen though it cannot be doubted

something has been seen. By looking for this mystery
I was creating the word. Is this how love is created?

A word that suddenly obtains meaning and mystery
in the deepest neck of our woods? Five hours

from the fifty first anniversary of what I cannot remember
the machines and fans hijacked the night

lifted it in the bothered air like helicopters waiting
on every building to take off. But they never leave.

History just another season we can’t hear change
traveling as we are, faster than the speed of truth.

The mystery opens like the mouth of a wolf
and closes like bare feet running on a path

and in the middle is a window neither open nor closed
and a festival we can attend only as words to each other.

It spreads out like a spill against forgetting.
All the grounded helicopters

are silenced when the thunder knocks the power out
and people open their windows cautiously

one day closer to forgetting there was a night
without open windows and crickets.

The bare feet of a word prowl across my eyelids.
Each footprint is different, like a word in many languages.

Interview with St Brigid Press


“Much of our experience takes place in an interior landscape. But … the most mindful way to access that seems to be through the external landscape.”

Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press interviewed me May 20 at the SBP printshop in Afton, Virginia. You can hear the interview and read the transcript here.

St Brigid Press will be publishing a chapbook of my work, Wind Intervals, in the late summer.

Stillness in a Low Time

Stillness in a Low Time During the Rainiest Month of May in Half a Century

The cars approach and diminish but the road goes nowhere.

The storm stands across the street and says go.
Panic fans out.

The grass migrating without moving.

One blade bending to talk and the other
to listen … but to some other voice,

arriving from a distance. A voice with the tongue of a shadow
as if all this light traveling ninety million miles amounted

to a message smaller than a grassblade.

How small this poem must be in the field of minds!

I heard some people talking as they walked
across the wide green library yard, laughing

at a study suggesting that plants and trees
communicate. One bent his head toward the other,

whose face, angled away from the sun,
was obscured in the late afternoon shadows.


Thoughts in Early May

Thoughts in Early May

I can still outrun my children
but the race has to be very short

or very long. And the middle space
widens every day,

We drove out of town in early spring
to visit a friend of my daughter

whose family makes church organs
among the folded hills of Virginia farmland.

There the metal is boiled and poured
in a long flat trough, so thin it can

be rolled into the pipes that channel
air into faith-appropriate pitch.

The cows leisurely await their doom
in the fields all around.

The sharp shinned hawk flies low

across the field and alights on an old post.
The family’s house is a crossroad of winds–

every stiff breeze in the valley seems to force
its way toward the house, from every direction,

speeding through foothill and gap,
funneled by finely ill-mapped roads,

reaches their yard finally as a constant gale
ripping the voice from trees and shrubs as we stumble

to the side door. My daughter’s friend
is used to it, she shouts from the porch, it never ends.

I think it is all the winds of the world auditioning
for a chance to flow through those pipes

and into the shadows of stillness
and be heard as something straight from God.

At home it is calm as a confessional.
The library across the street is closed.

We always have books to bring back,
and we always find them when the library

is closed. The silver maple next door
is so covered with English ivy it should be dead

but it has bloomed again this year,
enough to make the blue jay invisible.

I recognize his pitched query as others recognize
in the church organ the vowels of God.

I hear, in my own breath as I stand on the porch,
that same fierce longing as those winds

to become somebody else’s voice.