Friday, December 23, 2011


After midnight
thunder woke us
the tumbling boulders
I remember from my Atlanta childhood
horizon flashes
followed by vertical zigs & zags
thunder so loud
we flinched & hugged
to the sound of rain
light building to heavy
breezes from windows
until we closed them.
Cataracts spilled from the south roof drain.
Spray filled the air
next to the big north window.
I turned back the rug
shifted the power strip & computers
out of the range of weather.
By now the rain pounded
entered beneath the doors
through the gaps 
between walls & window frames
flooded the upstairs floor
leaked through the ceiling into the bookcase.
With rags & buckets
naked we roamed the house
mopped & wiped
& cursed the builders for promising, sí,
mañana they would seal the house.
Finally, the rain diminished
lightning dimmed
thunder spoke softly from a distance.
We opened windows
lay back down in cooler air
& talked until we slept
till morning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Common Spider

A common spider
unearthed by my hoe
hauled an awkward
globe of eggs
to a ventral point
on her abdomen. 
She shifted 
no farther 
than a foot away
so not to risk
losing her life’s 
requisite burden. 
Though she stayed 
over an hour 
I noticed
no change. 
Inside the globe
I imagined
egg after egg
each to many
while mother released 
what remained
of her load.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing the Dozens

          towns that look like pebbles or flushed quail
                                               – Jorge Teillier

parrots that shriek like tickled babies or goosed nuns
horses that pair head to tail like boxed shoes or mannikin feet

beetles that twine in long hair like rope climbers or plastic beads
blond skinks that speckle black like bananas or sand

foxes that scale & rifle garbage bins like urchins or druggies
ducks that dive like high school grades or barnstormers at town fairs

hawks that flock to alfalfa like maggots to meat or geese to golf links
dogs that troll outdoor tables like cigarette girls or deaf mutes

mosquitoes that hover like tour guides or silent farts
owls that guard their nests like nuns their chalk or bankers their loans

toads that pepper the night roads like pinballs or land mines
lyrics that drag on & on like slow downloads or warm-up bands

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Dawn of Summer

These days of half sun, 
half cloud at the dawn of summer 
when cool drops fall from a blue sky, 
the violent spring winds 
at last have died.

Sheets hang motionless, 
at noon pillowcases merely sway 
this Saturday, two more left in December, 
another year 
running out of things to say.

Aware of a noise 
above the vigorous digging of its hole, 
el tucutucu climbs to the top, listens, 
climbs higher & sees me 
working the hose. 

By evening 
northern peaks are lost in fog, 
southerns gray & black
like scenes on Chinese vellum scrolls, 
Andean gods strike & crackle. 

Night sounds: 
snowmelt acapellas along la acequia, 
makes a loop around the pond, 
light rain drums on bricks & sand,
a fox barks at the moon. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

For Real

Fear of presence
is due
to what doesn’t occur
in occupied space:
a fox, curious 
but feral,
a chitin bark
ferried by scarlet wings,
an acapella
shrilled by a burrowing owl 
to warn its hatch, 
fresh rust 
etching the chain
during my bicycle ride.
It’s why 
I stop hearing
human noise
when screeching parrots flock
from vineyard to sky, 
my spirits rise
to join them. 
My fear dissolves.
I fly for real.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This Child, These Tests, These Beginnings

Zoë arrives carrying roses – red
yellow, & pink – burdens that nearly smother
this child – pouting lips, downcast head –
whose shy is sham that lets her test the water.
Zoë wants to plumb all of it, details
large & small, self & Zoë propelled –
dung beetles & rosy stones, balls
of styrofoam pried up by her fingernails, 
a steep slope to the empty pond, a stake 
to pull her body up by, a pile of sand,
small sticks she orders to stand, sticks 
that test her theories of this non-mother land
ruled solely by physics, including her hold
on me as she tightrope-walks my world.