Showing posts from February, 2020


“A deer is at my feeder”: The first words I see This morning.
I know the deer: He has traveled from a pellucid spring Across the snow-covered mountains Of sleeping imagination Through fields Thick with the tall grasses of hope Across swift-moving rivers of endless work That nevertheless pool around  The fallen stars of the Little Dipper To the intersection of our lives In the soft and warm sand Pulled by time into the sea To stand alone, vast and open and sunny.
Will he drink from your birdbath? I wonder. I watch the fearless hunter Actaeon In my imagination. I watch Artemis the hunter. “She stomped her feet in warning. She turned on the security lights.” Stay away, her falling feet Demanded.  
You watched. We watch.


Never before you compared My frozen image  On your computer screen To Medusa Have I heard myself Compared to an accursed and ugly woman  With the power To turn men to stone.
While the problem might be Your limp Internet connection, I cannot help but hear You tell me I am ugly. At the same time, though, I think all you know of Medusa Is that she was ugly.  I, on the other hand, know Medusa got it on with Poseidon And gave birth to Pegasus. I know also  That Athena, Who helped Perseus kill Medusa, Also gave her healing blood To Asclepius. There’s more to say about Medusa, Whom you find ugly, Like me.
But I am not the frozen image


The dogs  Curl their bodies  Tight against The strangely mild winds And a waning moon That robbed them Of sleep all week As it called them To the edge of my bed, Alert, upright, Ready to howl To their brothers and sisters The fact of their being Right here and now.
I have not slept, either. I am ready for the song, Ready to be here now,
To trade darkness for a star.

Thinking of Mom on My Birthday

Sleet, snow, ice:
Silence falls.
A white emptiness,
A sleep
That envelopes everything
Right down
To the last squirrel
To the last robin.
Nothing to see here.
Nothing to claim.
Close your eyes.
Between each drop,
Peace, eternity.
The quiet breathing
Of the ages.
Everyone, everything
Is here.

Cashmere Coat

The label in
This camel's hair wraparound coat--
Is “100 percent cashmere”
To be “professionally cleaned only.”
Your dress coat
For as long as I can recall
(And today I am 53)
Always looked smart on you.
Dad said he bought it for you
Because you had one in high school.
What once we did
So we do now.

I wore your coat to the city
And to the opera.
I put one of your brooches on the lapel.
On the train,
I took off the coat and wore it like a blanket.
Breathing it in,
I swear I could smell
The clean of your perfume
Combined with so many years in a closet.

Though I am two inches
Taller than you ever were
The jacket is loose on me
Just a bit.

This makes sense to me, Mom.
I could never fill your shoes,
Let alone your dress coat.

Wearing it,
Walking to Radio City
From Grand Central Station,
I remembered how much
You loved the city.

It was a bitter day,
Though bright and blue,
But I was warm
Because of you.

I think it has always been that way.

Bean Mocs

After Mom passed on November 4, my father told me I could take her shoes.  There was a lot to take--from new white Keds to heeled leather boots to slippers--and I took them, taking some comfort in holding her things and imagining her presence.  It took a day, but I tried on all her shoes, and they fit.  I also discovered that her shoes have the same kind of wear as mine.  It was something.

The footbed of your mocs
Molded over time to
The exact shape
Of your solid, sure feet.

These shoes are old, Mom.
The soles are worn to the stitches.
The leather is dull
After years and years
Of your wearing them
In the garden.

They are mine now,
My inheritance:
Shoes for work
Shoes worn from work
Shoes that stand the test of time.

I slide them on:
The footbeds cradles
My solid, square feet.
I take a few steps
And feel the perfect fit
In your shoes, Mom.

I swear I walk faster in these,
Zooming the way you always did
To do all the living you could
In a day
In the garden.

I condition the leather,

Come, Aurora

A tentative step
A soft look
Warm breath
Clouding cool morning air,
The deep wood,
Dark, still
So full of
Sleeping, dreaming
Forms of life
Under the moon
Drifting farther
And farther away
Pressed by the sun
Out of the bluing sky
To a far corner
Of this small universe
And then:
A tentative step
A soft look,
Warm breath:

A deer steps to the edge of the road
From the deep wood.

Here is the day.

Blessing the Earth That Is Your Mother

Day stirs from still sleep And whispers Come here, close to me Through the grey mist And soft light. Walk softly. Take your time. You are a whisper so soft The deer are unafraid. Stay among them. Hear them tear at the grasses. They surround you As they graze. They claim you In a dream. Their soft breath Lifts you to the top Of white pines That are black yet In this grey light. Drift, gentle spirit, Above the river The light of the river Is not the sun but your soul Blessing you As you bless the earth That is your mother The light flows


In the darkness, I am alone and feeling This storm that shakes my earth.
I am thinking of Poseidon And how he desired a woman For her beauty and the way she danced;
How he waited for her When she fled him, running to Atlas As he held the line between order and chaos;
How he sent a dolphin To rescue her into his arms And out of her terror
Of the world beneath the waves-- A place perhaps like this one in its torrential dark That makes me unknown and naked to myself;
How Poseidon, mighty earthshaker, God of horses and the unfathomable sea, Gave her time that she might choose him, too;
How he waited for her Until she could see herself as his queen--
Yet who remembers her name?
Feeling the close-moving thunder in this enveloping dark, I imagine the golden chariot, those glorious horses,
The rhythm of the waves driving Poseidon and Amphitrite.

January 2019

Stars melt. Their cold celestial fires Liquefy, flowing from the sky To cold streams in the winter woods, Their movement over rocks The only sound on a day Whose stillness and solitary quiet Predict snow.
I hear it. You hear it.
 Snow falls. The river flows.
Passions burn Slowly, quietly, and still Without asking permission. Without asking your attention.
They are here, And they will claim you. They wait as you wonder  About the snow,
How it might mix with the stars To flow where it will, Where it will flow,
How it will rise to a new star.