Beyond Knowing

I’m pulling out of a station
I used to label, smug and stuck.

An array of potions, amping up
liquids while my nose, red and

raw, seeps with deep healing.
Eyes on the great blue heron,

unseen for weeks. He’s poised
on my periphery, just on the edge

of sight, so I lean slowly.
Camouflaged at the threshold

of brown grasses, dirty white
riprap and trees still greening

the water. He creeps out of sight.
I must adjust my chair to

track, sneezing behind windows.
A spider in her web, waiting,

or a specter stumbling across
realities, a danger in every

sense. Morning sun kissing lake:
how green the blue. He turns

to step directly into his
shadow, the way of all healing,

graceful in his necessary poise.
I’m watching like these waters,

shimmering and simmering from
currents far below the still air.

Inspired by Stumble, Spider, Specter and How Green Is Blue.

What Blooms

To celebrate ten years, he sends
living pieces of his island

far across the ocean. Orchids, white
and purple, orange birds of paradise

and green bird leaves, heliconia
and ginger, white anthuriums,

ti leaves and calathera, hala
and banana leaves, outrageous

extravagance for my simple
frugal life here on the mainland.

While I’m arranging flowers, a great
blue heron fishes the rocks right

outside my door, views access
to the porch an antagonistic

move and so I grant him
clemency, standing shadowed

in this blooming box. All around
me, the library crumbles

dust disintegrating bindings
and words leaking out into

the fragrant air. All the knowledge
I’ve garnered needs a good

solid cleaning out. A mourning
dove flutters then slides to the

grass. Surely I know nothing.
Poised silent watcher

teaching sliding into me whether
I will or no, and I doubt

he has ever anguished over
his place in this delicate and fragile

ecosystem. I move, he rises
scolding—will I ever learn

with all these bold gestures
and careless taking without

ever paying a true cost?
The very idea hidden

in too many layers
to peel, I say,

rushing to my
next important distraction.

Inspired by: Clemency, Library, Antagonistic and Garnered.

The Essential Dive

Double-crested cormorant gold bill pointed
skyward before you dive, I’m already

missing you. Native in three realms
at least, and I’m queasy here

on the porch, just in time to heed you
knowing to go deep today, into

the fundamental roots anchoring
my mistakes. Yesterday I stretched

far past my former limits
seeking to duplicate my youth, perhaps.

In the tenuous now I’m tremulous
as the earth shifts beneath me.

I’m longing for the easy paddle
through the surface. My hunger

dissipated, dehydrated, headachy
with clouds of pain and sorrow,

even the sun brightening above
is too much, though I’m still here.

In the deep night, summoned by the
moon, I tried to see the hole

of my absence through the years,
to know my worth through casual

eyes of friends and family, immersed
in their own trials, appearing

distant in the false narrative
of separation. Listen, I know well

the claw that raked through me
unsettling to the depths I avoid

brought all this surfacing, my grip
holding the wriggling essential

truths of my existence like the morning
catch. And though I imagine letting

go, life keeps me holding on and
rising, dripping, from the dark

places, flying to the top of this
nearby tree. What feeds me emerges

infusing every molecule of stardust.
Eyes closed, I swear

a bird I’ve never heard is
chirruping, insistent, my name.

Inspired by: Duplicate, Missing, Fundamental and Native and a very hard 24 hours.

Choose The Updraft

Nothing disturbs my practice because everything is it.~Thomas Huebl

Someone unseen is wielding a chain
saw. The whine from the wood

ceases abruptly and my head is
up, searching the unlikely silence.

Alert. A sound can instigate
time travel, echoing back through

a family schism, my brother’s blood
the star. Feeling past the overlay

of legend into the constellation
of us spinning through space.

He lifts his hand from his bright-
red mouth. My mother faints.

Right now a white plane rumbles
chased by three black crows.

I learned to tell stories
of the places too horror-filled

to feel, moving in to do the
right thing, emotions firmly

reined. They quiver here,
stallions ready to burst

from the hidden stables.
Narrating my brothers’ traumas

watchful and alarmed, I could not
claim them as my own, a gracious

hostess stepping back into shadows
as the play climaxes.

This human experience is utterly
unlike what I’ve been

told, what my focus revealed.
All the jigsaw pieces rammed

together in a childish dabble
gently ease apart today.

Two kingfishers rattle in. One claims
the dock as the other retreats so loudly

a green heron rises, gracefully
seeking the furthest silent shore.

Inspired by: Instigate, Schism, Dabble and Unlikely and memories of the chainsaw incident, when my brother slipped from the tree he was sawing and came home with a mouthful of blood and an urgent need for medical care.

Lost In Space

Green heron preens with blue-gray
bill, orange foot scratching white

chest overlooking the freshly stocked
lake-larder. Killdeer claims the black

tarmacadam, feigning injury.
Cardinal’s red flash fleeting past.

Clouds gather unobtrusively
for the afternoon surprise

with thunderous flair. My cup
is dry, my plate empty. And still

I hesitate in this fluttering.
Instantly seven swallows swoop,

the green heron croaks her warning.
I turn my head for the wren’s spray

of notes, liquid, mellifluous.
When I look back, they’ve all vanished,

end of Act One, the lessons I need
played out before me. A how-to

defend boundaries, strong nos
in living color as I sit with coffee

and pen. My filters and expectations
pushing extraneous ink to

protect me from the dizzying
freefall of now until there are

no words and
I’m in it.

Inspired by: Hesitate, Flair, Extraneous and Spray.

Best-laid plans

Stolid, dull and stodgy

a percent of every 

poem words that plod, they’re

dodgy, for the public,

just to show ‘em

there’s a rhyme scheme and flow—

um, my directional skills

point to a course correction.

I’ll relinquish expectations;

my view a bird show fills.

Red-winged blackbirds’ treetop

battle, the green heron’s on

the dock.  The hungry swallow

chicks are chirping at this nosy

sparrow hawk—the fluttering, the

preening, the diving and the squawks

at this cusp of sky and water

—me, I’m watching on the ground, 

just giving up the prompts today

for this excitement that I’ve found.

Inspired by:  Percent, Directional, Public and Stolid.

Spring Fling


His bold proclamation of chip, chip, chip

potpourri against the honking and the quack

background tilts my head, intrigued.

Admiring that flash jacket, flames

against inky black.  He fooled me.

I made up casseroles and offered them

to this lonely male, spreading my artful

mix of seeds on golden turf to tempt.

And here’s a turn-up for the book,

his mate delayed, newly arrived

to renew their union.

He’s scouted the neighborhood, he knows

which cattails dance under a bird’s precise

weight.  And she’s like an extra

in his show, brown and speckled

weaving through his shadows

as they prepare the world

for the new generation.

Inspired by: Extra, Book, Renew, and Delayed and the red-winged blackbirds building a nest.