during the widening winter white-out
she draws a blank
stare to send a stern message
to the blotter / to the blaming
beads in her parka pocket

they slip through
a rip in the fabric / pour
into the space between
down linings / free
radicals come loose

in the body covering her body
in the hem of her hope

Pooling and Looping

shadows of
tall / taller
tallest buildings
linger over


the park
or not
rise / retreat
my shadow


fingers always
beat me
to the
last word


dazzles / dangles
carved light

Hydrology of Melt

no names / we all dance
naturally when you turn off the lights

words arrive by candlelight
flickering their multi-colored tongues

still sits alone in a corner
wondering how

the ailing bearded dragon is
feeling this year

no one wants to play with her
as she plays hard to get

with another dictionary
words seeping through the tattered cover

in the shape of a lovely lion
or pretty penguin

warnings sound in sudden bursts
of vaporized knells

don’t let the cut and paste fool
you into believing

the results of water tested
for invasive eyes

don’t cut the pasty fool
out of your life

before you’ve tested how well
your eyes adjust to the dark

a memory won’t hold still
it will only hurt a bit

fog hides the boat
you thought was lonely

you really don’t know
anything about the port side

or how to identify tule
in the marsh

your right foot
always faces east

Water Dancer

She knows this dock—
each splinter, barnacle,
hurricane-spared stilt.

It is not a plank. It’s where she walks.
She knows how to dive,
has been doing it for years.

No easing into the wash,
she plunges in and is used to it
before others awake.

This is underworld—closets, caves, shelves,
trenches, forests, hydromedusa, brittle
stars, Painlevé’s camera.

This is where she should live—
she who is a sponge
is a sponge is a sponge.

She will never work a room
on dry land, works the ocean floor
with the precision of a jelly bloom.

To become exposed to air,
the rising sun. It is her death
to appear before all of us.

Metal crushes metal on a distant street, emergency
sirens approach
closer, closer. A muffled distortion underwater.

Leave her enough sea room.
She would rather synchronize her own sculls
outside a tank

than be confounded by a mirage of closing night roses
she can’t reach without a body.


the poet says
she’s sorry
to the tree
for being

so needy
alive / dead
how do you
resurrect a blue

spruce after it’s been
reamed and
the evergreen
moment is gone

then wipe the black
liquor from your lips

Low on the Horizon

nothing to prompt us
the first boyfriend question
still unresolved / a new year
it’s just another day

when the temperature has plummeted
as if on cue / the morning sun
converts a thick layer
of ice over everything

into diamond-studded
streets and sidewalks
velocity and momentum
get mirrored by outstretched arms

upon arrival the irony
mark makes some rumblings
other gestures with straighter lines
may come back or slide forward

as firsts to hang
our thickest parkas on
after a morning outdoor refresher
who needs a prompt

or first boyfriend clearly defined
when we can wipe our boots
on the vestibule mat
so cold and so bright outside