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Poems from my latest book, Gods of Water and Air

Prayers for Everywhere

Prayers for the volcanoes
that need garlands when they erupt
and prayers for the freeways
you never drive them the same twice,
prayers for the buds
that look like babies’ faces
as they open next week and for the blossoms
opening their soft legs to bees.

Prayers for everything the soul
must reluctantly or passionately kiss:
rain-running gutters,
a pebble in the shoe,
the silt gritty on your ocean-washed lips.

Because what is a prayer
but a laugh that can’t be formed
in letters, but only heard
in that place that, praised, lights up.
So prayers for everywhere
that needs them,

Prayers for the worms washed out
of the grass onto driveways,
prayers to step over as they swim
because you can’t pick them up
without damage. So much
of the heart can only be helped
without direct touching.

Prayers for everyone
in the throngs who need well-wishes
to suck on in their sleep
like giant glowing lollipops.
Prayers going to every restless sleeper
on this earth who needs a cool hand on the brow.
Prayers for their own sake,
prayers as beautiful as dolphins
leaping and twisting, prayers
freed from gravity’s pull
to fly glistening into the air.

first appeared in Crab Creek Review

Chopin Reigns

Rain can be like Chopin, all piano strings
and syncopated pauses, geometry
of blings under wheels and rubber heels.
Sudden baptism from branches.
Drooled harmonies. On your neck, wet
strings slithering like kisses. Rings
around drops that plop into pools: ting,
ting, ting, ting. Scriabin zithering
loss up your edges, a musical soul-cling,
that cold feathering.

first appeared in Pirene’s Fountain


Elegy for an Amputation

They are disappearing like his toes:
first to leave is an auberge in Brittany,
then fishing the Sea of Cortez goes.
We start each telephone call with a litany
of events: Remember, Dad? Narrative salves
memory. We try to stitch it onto the stump
it fell from. Each visit our history’s halved.
Conversation dwindles to plaints, grumps
and blame–Who put that bottle there? His veins
narrow, synapses thin. Thoughts scatter,
drift, and yet his brushwork remains
till another amputation–do fingers matter?–
when now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t Dad
vanishes, leaving inch by inch and mad.

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