Prose and Poetry

…a small sampling.

(berry)

I want to know

why

I love the sweet, broken ones

the sun
selects and burns away
segments
of the aggregate fruit

I cannot throw away
the last blackberry,
hold it, bleeding
in my palm.
ease away
the ruined drupelets.
guard
the raw remains
in my mouth

as if

my tongue
could heal a fruit of nature

loving, this way,
one isolated berry
could revive its far-gone cells

the renewal
of a berry
could take me home again
and make it good
this time.

The Safe Places

What occupied my dreaming
in the crabapple tree in
the grove above the lake?

in the dark closets of my mother’s
attic, the pieces of her purple river
dress taken one torn
square at a time for the tiny
talismans of my
happiness

in the Brigadoon under the bed
appearing only
with the trundle pulled
away, my
vaporized
escape dream unrecoverable

under the camp pine tree in the hollow left
in summer by my father’s feet
where he stood each afternoon with his
guitar,
the coniferous scent sticky bark a
protective bubble around my
secret tender
fears

and by the boulder I thought
was hidden
in the trees I thought
made an entire forest.

Where did they
go, the
winged longings, when they
ceased
to circle above me?

                                                        Castles Crumble

We believe the simplest things.

The leaf will land unblemished on the earth. The neighbor, whose front yard flowers and reaches outward from so many beds of color, will welcome our arrival to this street, return our optimistic waving.  The driver ahead, turning, will alert us his departure from the road while the one behind will keep his distance when we hesitate. The patch-eyed puppy we’ve brought home to comfort our children will sleep contentedly every night in their arms beneath a frayed autumn blanket.

Our call for help will be heard. Heard and then responded to. Responded to with haste, with generosity. Our own generosity will be accepted, and appreciated. Our children will love us back no matter how we fail them. Our children will eat the foods we give them and these foods will grow them tall and lean and prosperous. Our children will be born with perfect symmetry, with teeth that chew and hands that write. That studying will make us learn, that what we learn is needed, that what we need can be understood through study, through oft-touted qualities. Like diligence, like engagement. That we contain, somewhere within, these qualities.

We believe, and we’ve a reason to, that the money earned through labor, luck or cleverness will be paid to us. The things we’ve thrown away will be removed, the things we’ve shared will be utilized. The ice will hold as it always has, the coldest weather still will come. The food we’ve bought will nourish us, the food we’ve grown will be substantial. The remedies we’ve learned will always cure us. The egg, once cracked, will hold a yolk inside transparent matter, the shell itself will have a purpose in the garden. There will be a garden because there is a patch of earth. The patch of earth will cleanse itself of all environmental poisons. Disrupting the natural order will spell imminent disaster. That imminent disaster is a bad thing. That a bad thing will make us miserable. Is irreversible. That we will not desire things that make us ill and sad and empty. The people who bring us to the world and the ones who grow beside us will have at heart our best, and most beloved, and most essential interests.
****   ***********   ******
When the castle crumbles, the villagers we’ve fed with bits of pilfered savories and small kernels of sweets will recognize it wasn’t us who starved them on the land, that all along we tried so hard to bridge the gap, to nourish them from secret stores inside our own cold pallets on the palace floor. That they will reach their arms out in a brave and human net to catch us. To catch us when the castle crumbles.

asthenosphere

a baby
was found between the wooden shards
beneath walls in ruins
perched in irrational safety
on a blue bucket over traces of ocean
in a teddy bear suit
blinking and cold and living

an ancient man
was found
on a roof on the surface of the ocean
protected by the inverted reality
of the house he’d built
expecting water from above
as his adversary

a jailed man
was never found

a girl running from the erupting core
of her father’s anger
was never found

a mother bent before the kitchen altar
in a pressed blue suit
kneeling lightly on her young son’s yellow schoolbag
was never found

a pair of middle-aged lovers
laughing on the floor atop abandoned blankets
was never found

a stiffened body in a dedicated room
awaiting its own reduction
was never found

a thousand bodies
drowned before half the world awakened
were never found

**   *****   **

is there,
somewhere in here,
a baby,
unexpected
between the wooden shards,
blinking and cold and living
borne along, unlikely and protected on a wave
radiating outward from the brutal shift
of these – my own – tectonic plates?

Selected Publications in Prose and Poetry

“(berry)”. Pyrokinection. (September 2012).

Reading Brainard”. Storm Cycle: The Best of 2012. (February 2013).

Reading Brainard”. Jellyfish Whispers. (September 2012).

Persimmon”. New Sun Rising. (May 2012).

Underneath”. Louisiana Studies Folklife Journal. (August 2011).

Wasps”. Glimmer Train, honorable mention, (2010).

Safety”. Poets for Living Waters. . (Summer 2010).

Sochi”. Journal of Postcolonial Cultures and Societies, April 2010.

Necklace”.  One Hundred Stories For Haiti. (March 2010).

North of Inverness But Not as Far as Wick”. Belmont Humanities Symposium Creative Writing Award.  (Spring 2011).

Girl”. Belmont Literary Journal. (Spring 2010).

We Discover Baseball”. The Tennessean. (Spring 2008).

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