Poems

TATTOO

Inked into my right foot, it will rise from the sway between
the hallux and pointer, etched into the tender skin bridging those two

most prominent toes. Rather than the hip, forearm or tucked into
the curve of the jawbone, it will reside in a place I can eye on morning’s

first steps, wet and pulsing in the shower, trace it’s pliant outline
in bed at night. I imagine the petals: symmetrically curved skyward,

a pale pink blossom veined with a touch of red, slender green root
winding snakelike down the metatarsal cleft. The needle will be

painful, a self-inflicted suffering, perhaps a karmic mending
of carried samskaras. A lotus planted amidst my noble toes, two-

dimensional flora carved into a breathing canvas, stretched over
a matrix of tendon, bone; my foot, an evolution of thrust and balance,

shaped by a million steps, jeweled now with this image in fluid
scroll, worn for my enduring days, worn into the final fire.

Published Sept 2019 Cathexis Northwest Press

SHE WAKES

She wakes each
morning to song,
willing to let the rain

christen her
nakedness, to take
a chance that lines

of caravans will arrive,
scrawls of boats
and windmills

will be etched
in her sand.
She isn’t sure

she can bear
the days when birds
don’t light

on her head,
scratch thoughts
onto her page.

From: She Speaks to the Birds at Night While They Sleep
Published in For Women Who Roar


TAKE THE BONES

Take the bones
fold them in half.

If it’s below zero
pack them in wool

above 80, in silk.
You must carry them

yourself. At times
theywill weigh

a thousand pounds.
At others, they will lift

like feathers
do the crow.

From: Talk of Snow

WAITRESS

In the Fifth Street diner, windows
wide to the guttered slush and pale-bone
sky, the day shift passes like nickels
and dimes–buzzing coffee and sugar,

grilled cheese and slaw, cups of
and sides of, all up and down the formica
counter, out to the smooth-hide
booths, ring the register, pocket a bill

or two in the waisted apron. Click,
clicking across the linoleum:
slinging fries, choco malts and the one
o’clock pie. Wind up the smile,

the hustle, tend the regulars
and occasionals who lunch with chatter
spilling through lettuce and dills,
straw slurp and chomp. Four plate

juggle and sideways slide, order
up, take out and slow clunk
of the clock ’til the last tab’s out
and slam the shutters, clamp the lock,

mop up and count up the take–
jitter, all foot throb and brew
waft, out of the fry, the ogle, into pine
pitch air and car spew, to bide

and poke along, hugging the tatty
collar the round way home,
beneath a wedging honk of geese,
the scarred and bloated moon.

From: Life In Two Parts
Published in Inkwell Journal