Dandelion Patch by the Elementary School, Early May, 7:50 a.m.

Translations from the English


Dandelion Patch by the Elementary School, Early May, 7:50 a.m.

They pluck them from the ground and smash
Them soundlessly on another’s head or back

What floats off their violence like a helicopter’s
Skeleton? Lighter than an elementary school

Morning. Directionless as a flying fifth grader.
Wish wands are what they call them. Why would you break

A wish on a boy’s stubborn neck as he tries to twist
Away? On the shoulder of the girl who’s too fast

For you to catch? They don’t wait for the fractured
Moon to pop free of its stem. When the field grows

Quiet I look up at the great yellow flower. If I wait
Long enough it will turn white and fragile against

The dark. I’ll meet you at the base of its hollow
Column, or wait till the wind dismisses me.


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because i promised i would write before my next birthday

the last day that i am forty proves to be a quarter moon in the center of the sky.

the air is half could and the other half sun.

that sun rises earlier on my side of this mountain and sets earlier too, but a few short miles around the foothill and i have forced this last night that i am forty to last an inch longer.

i have climbed the mountain of that foothill.  i can see half of everything on either side of this town.  i can see half of everything around who i will ever be.  i am at the very tip without a tether.  but the tether is me.



Saproxylic (for Geoffrey Hill and Frank Miller)

Translations from the English



for Geoffrey Hill and Frank Miller

Spiders spill out of a storm struck oak
On the rim of my childhood’s forest.

Half buried mathematical sign
Of the world’s inequality.

We were walking it down to earth
When the wood gave way beneath us

And the honeycombed beetle wandered paths
Were pried open by a thousand things

Of furry mindlessness, lost hands scrambling
For their owners across the crumbling bark

Toward the drowned crown’s leaves’
Black and brown shadows. Who was the eleven

Year old boy, barely a root,
And who was the hundred ringed world widener

Downed by a bolt? Who jumped from bank to bank
The great Skunk River’s rimey surface?

Looking for a clue, we found it: a footprint
Filled with muddy rain

Through which we’d read the tread
Then swirl it with a stick and claim

Some understanding, though adulthood
Stared us in the face with…

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if i was eight and missing you missing me too

i always loved to write but i never really could but i do and you say i should


and you say i should sing a song that i can’t sing but i will because you hear more than sound


and you say you love everyone ive ever loved or love or who loves me because love loves wholly


and i open my arms to your entirety because that entirety made you you



and i live and die with your deaths and resurrections because i feel like i’ve been birthed or buried


and i know when you are far away because i am far away and afraid of the end of our eternity


and life has bigger things to see to than two stars who

look like



In One Second

I am waiting for forever to roll around

The Cardinals looking for shadows beneath clouds


Thunder starting low and miles away trying to catch up to light


Robins with red hearts beating in the dead veins of winter


The maple storing green rain to grow and branch into a million trees


Coffee going cold in my hand and the Crow on the power line laughing



Lakeshore Park in January

This first month of the year sits on the park bench like a boulder holding down a flower.


It watches me reach for life up through the Oak’s heavy arms.  Nothing but arms weighted down from being strong and they are gray with exhaustion.  No Crow,  no secret, no leaf to fall or rustle against a whisper.  Only the arms reaching down for me through the month’s dead mouth.


The Heron glides in with a blue that makes the gray beautiful and breaks the month’s spine,  vertebrate cracking and hushed as stone rolling off of flowers.  Something moves in the arms of the Oak and I lean my head against her chest to hear her breathe again.

River Crossing

All the stones are slippery every

single one holds no foot steady no

gait straight forward or tall no one erect


the wilderness perhaps is our feet

sliding out from beneath our

trunks flailing against all the odds flailing against loss


leaves flying in the wind scattered

above water’s reflection with

nothing to cling to nothing to see no one to see them fall

coffee a-brewing

the hour is slowly dragging its feet behind the second hand and gravity’s magnetism is and was and will be pulling the hands clockwise to a-tick- tick-ticking


the cars going by outside on the interstate forever north, forever south,  through the perpetual seasons changing color,  the cars  a-whir-whir-whirring


and the faucet coming from the endless sea and eternal waves, the fish there no one ever sees,  my bathroom faucet a-drip-drip-dripping


who cares it is an everyday occasion

that moves steadily forward that mocks my dying.

Commemorating His Rare Appearance




The Blue Snow goose is rare in these here parts the boy tells me.  Thinks he was brought over here cause of the early cold wind from Colorado,  maybe.  The hunter shot him down south of Atlanta in some Georgia pines near a swamp.  Birds were probably lookin for some water he says.  He will have him stuffed and hung on a plaque above his new  baby boy’s crib.  “Commemoratin’ his birth and all”.  He showed me a picture of the bird dangling from his hand and limp as any umbilical cord on the afterbirth.  He was a magnificent bird.