sea roaring through a hole in the cliff face


Poems title

           store-front barred


Ordinary Morning

Body-warm bed, a brush of muscled leg,

baby’s chicken bones. Morning

colors the closet wall red. The hallway floor

creaks with each step. Through the window

the night’s rain weights the tree leaves, hanging

wet and jeweled by the sun. The kitchen smells

of coffee, apple bread.  Mom

doesn’t look up, Dad in boxers

with the sports page. Cheerios,

Algebra, a blond pony tail.

Pimples and a changed voice. 

The weight of books.  Zippers closing. 

Toddler arms squeezed around

a mother’s legs.  Toys on a blanket

in a square of sunshine. A cat’s neck/

the feel of liquid down.  Outside

red leaves




I'm greeting the arrival

of a bright-eyed yellow bird.

The bird is a canary,

known for its beautiful song.

She nestles in my chest,

sings a story of abandonment

and misplaced faith.  She sings

of lost moments, of a union

so intense it brought tears

to the eye.  The bird doesn't cry,

only sings a steady tune

in the early morning hours.

Cheer up, the bird chirps.

For don't you know

that all summer long

I will be your boon companion?

In the long, light-filled days ahead,

I will stay with you,

nesting near your heart,

returning each day

with scavenged bits of hair

and silken thread, building

a nest amidst the bone branches

of your ribs.  And when

the autumn light turns pink

and the days begin to shorten

and chill, I will crack open

your sternum like a hull

and fly away, taking all

of your sorrow with me,

spreading it over the ocean's

surface, flying and flying

until I find a green island

in the middle of clearest blue,

and there in the center

of the tallest palm, I will stop,

I will nose my stiff beak

into the ruffle and plume

of sequined golden feathers,

and rest, swaying

and sparkling in the midday sun.

4 a.m.


 That morning you had to catch a plane, you

coming into the room to hug & kiss me

goodbye. I was half asleep but could see

a light shirt & gray suit jacket,

your head & face outlined above me in the dark.

You leaned in & your thick hair

was damp from the shower,

smelled sweet & felt cool

to the touch, & as you bent down

the delicious heft of your strong shoulders

under my arms, the underappreciated beauty

of a solid man, moving in close, saying in a low voice

that you loved me, loved all of me. & then

like that

you were gone.


Damp spirits

on this trestle from which I glimpse

the end of things, old enough

to know this particular intersection

of chance and necessity

will not come again, will never

converge as it did

at that crystalline hour, like the time

I lay, floating, on the deck of the boat,

the cabled bridge picked out in lights

above me, the Bay below, rumpled

black and blue, stars outshone

for a time by fireworks

dripping down the night sky,

close enough to touch

or so it seemed.


My Voice Came Back

"I stopped being ashamed of my singing

    when my marriage ended."   G. Rilleau

Afer my husband left

my voice came back.

Arrived wearing rhinestones

and bleached blond hair

teased sky high, held in place

by a half-can of hairspray,

introduced itself

with a wink and a drawl,

gracefully shifting

the generous weight

of ham hock thighs

big as Texas.

When my voice began to sing

it recalled the scratchy, winsome sound

of an old Hank Williams tune -

thin and reedy, or low

and menacing, like the rumbling

at the back of a dog's throat.

My voice showed up late,

already older and wiser

but still preoccupied

with lust and lingerie.

It warbled a tale

of seduction and heartbreak,

the welcome calamity

of too much Saturday

come Sunday morning.


(once the kids are asleep)

my voice wears a pink feather boa.

It struts and sashays

in smoky bars

at the edge of small towns

in the middle of nowhere.

It loves the heat

of the spotlight, surrenders

too easily for the price

of a steak dinner.

My voice orders whiskey

straight up, prefers

to be called

by its stage name (Chantal.

Or Brenda. Or Crystal.)

My voice talks back.

It is trashy, yet always

a lady.  My voice

is the sound of an argument

through a thin apartment wall;

it's the life of the party

after the guests have gone

home, two in the morning,

last call.

 What She Wants

A garden

static in full flower;

a phrase pinpointing

the fugitive moon.