Wild Flower

wildflowers

Beauty just is
unvarnished
moving with wind
colored with sun

I walked for miles
with no destination
noting the frequency of
the wild flower

the pillars of stems
thorny or delicate
upholding the grace of
a small existence

Many line the road
leaning with flare
But petals that unfold in
the wild find their way

where we’ll never walk
I think, perhaps, that
is what it means to be
truly wild

Losing March

Northern Mockingbird

At 17, I discovered leaves on trees,
carved veins of light fanning into
a kaleidoscope of green, sawed edges
sharpened into points, bird feathers
descending into arched clouds.

Looking out the window,
lens perched upon my nose, told
to examine the drip of eucalyptus
weighted in sky, held in a metallic grip,
with flaky fingers and root sprawl.

Is this how it’s supposed to be,
a spectacle of finely crafted edges,
when life had been pools of blue rooted
in waves of mountains, palo verdes
a smear of pollen yellow, cacti coated
and licked like well-groomed cats?

The day the world came into focus,
childhood became the soft underbelly,
a tangible abstract of cotton figurines,
until a glut of detail revealed
sticks no longer whittled into animal
shapes but sharpened into spears.

And here I am, in the wake of morning,
no lens to correct my vision, closing the
eyes of my 10-year-old self, only to hear
mockingbirds sing stolen trills, knowing they
don’t sing for joy, but rather to defend all the
imaginary lines drawn for self-preservation.

______________________________________________________________________

 

The Threshold of Snowflakes

icecurtain

Feel the soft empathy,
the pregnant belly sharing
a heartbeat of a million voices.

In the landscape of lies
you will find the construction of
beautiful, fragile flakes

collecting, rising to solidify
into a frozen wall,
drop by drop by drop.

And when you fall from your graces,
slip in your well-fitted shoes
when we have worn so many,

we may offer shelter
from winter’s piercing blast,
lest you understand,

above the welcome mat
snowflakes turn to ice and
ice turn to daggers.

The Nesting of Wild Things

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Birdsong begins in darkness,
humming like faulty wiring,
collecting trills placed
in bone and wind.

I felt shadows move in stillness
bowing to my fetal shape,
setting off the nightingale and
the cerulean warbler

to rest branches in my open palm,
flint to strike against the
steel moon and ignite a
flight of condors.

Running with fever down
beaches of gulls into hawk-spun
mountains, I spilled into
the soft-plumage of day

clearing the way for the
wild things at the gate,
feathers soaked in bonfire blue,
a launch of flight

leaving me covered in the
the ashes of the phoenix,
quelling the call of the nest
to put me on my journey.

In the Promise of Rain

drop

Drag yourself to the pitch and peel of shadows undressing, slips kicked off into valley, unveiling light, moving under wingspan of hawks circling in appetite.

In the twisted joints of junipers, the ball and socket of land and sky,
you spoke upward, bristling in heat spitting chaw at your feet,
whistling some tune about bandits and cowpoke,
big rock candy mountains. Yipping coyotes sang
in the chorus of the kill, the whiff of the strike.
You woke to rain and howl, water tanks
creeping high, licking rims of tin,
no thought of drought that day.

That’s the smell of money, you said.
Honey colored grass, weeping into
the crook of rocks, moving cattle to
pasture, hearing jaws click to the grind
of feed, along with the drunken earth,
glug, glug, glug,
like a ranch hand on payday
softly sighing in the quench.

You were always best when dust settled
and the air pasted with promise, clouded
memories of a throat thick with
thirst, drowning in a past
with weather worn pages
and amber bottles.

See? you said, head lifted to sky,
and I saw, with drops upon my
face, through your paper eyes.

Rain never felt the same after
that, not even the
promises as they
they dripped
dripped
drip.

*

Shape Shifters

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Make space as I
Shift into sea foam origami,
Water filling its vessel

I won’t wait for the known
To slough the rough edges
Into marbled stone

I do not mark expiration dates
Popping bubbles to the
Tick of time

I have completed my stitch,
Threading empty holes
Into netted catch

Beating words of meaning,
Wearing pleasurable feathers
To give flight

I have cut myself into infinity
Choking on shards of fickle light,
Careful of crystalline cuts

For it is the writer consuming
Their characters, nailing them to page,
Playbills starring ourselves

By the Seat of a Country Song

One Friday night in Tucson
I told you to fetch your
Toothbrush and some cash,
We’d never been to Texas.

We drove through an
Inky, moon-dipped sky
Flanked by saddled mountains and a
Posse of saguaros saluting battle.

Interstate 10, due east,
Rolled tar in a straight shot,
The wind stinging our cheeks,
Musky scent of desert sage and coffee.

Humming songs on the radio,
Crunching wrappers underfoot,
Your toes and hands out the window,
My fingers thumping on the wheel.

At the border of New Mexico
Johnny Cash sang about doing
Time in Folsom Prison,
But that ain’t ever happen.

Hank Williams Jr sang about
Spitting beech-nut in some dude’s eye
And shooting him with his o’l .45,
Though he never did.

We told stories about how we’d hit Houston,
Take in a rodeo, hoot at cowboys in pickups,
Kick aside those buckle bunnies in their
Slick Wranglers and Justin ropers.

In between bites of truck stop jerky,
Pulling off dirt roads to piss behind palo verdes,
We hit El Paso at sunrise
Wearing wind and fire, ate at a diner

Asking how long to Houston, hanging our heads
With the answer, paid with coins and cash,
Took in the Rio Grande and turned around
Singing about how nothing lasts.

Though we didn’t believe it.