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At the Marsh

She walked one chilly late-
fall day along the marsh
when the brittle milkweed pods
were spilling their fluff.

The ungenerous air
had stiffened and slit open
and the yolky-thick,
late-afternoon light
oozing out
obscured her vision.
She strained her eyes
and stumbled.

She wondered at the give of time,
how it could shrink
to a white fist,

or spread its fingers wide
in fragrant petals,

as it had when she’d
stood near this spot in spring
under a blossoming tree
and stayed there
several years―
the air was so buoyant and warm,
the world
spread out, abundant,
in the grass beneath.

Briar Cliff Review 29, 2017

Byzantine Stillness

From blue-gray to blue-green.
My irises in the mirror
morph into my mother’s.
I climb into their byzantine stillness
and submerse myself
in those waters
from which I came.

That was so long ago
and she is gone.

I move my face away
from the mirror.

It takes decades.

Diverse Voices Quarterly, Volume 5, Issue 19, November 2013

A Strange Place

I’m walking through a grove of sycamores.
Dappled sunlight plays on the grasses.

It’s a strange place
where I found myself
years ago, not
from desire,
but from necessity.

Soft, dry air escorts me,
a crowd of beings I cannot see,
silent ones,
kidnappers.
I feel their firm arms around my body.

They peeled the bark off the sycamores
and now they’re peeling off
who I thought
I was.

I hear birds twittering,
breeze rustling the leaves,
smell the yellow brittle grasses.
Ahead lies the lake.
Maybe someday I’ll reach it.

The Binnacle Spring 2016

Thanksgiving Morning

A cluster of dead leaves
left hanging on the maple tree
quivers like a vibrating bell.

White gasps of steam rise
from the house across the street,
where grown children
have come home
and one who never left
works on his car.

The dark funnel descends
from the sky and lifts
everything in its path—
the car, the couch,
the TV, the trowel, the sink,
the cows, and the people,
then batters and blends them,
says the article on tornadoes
in National Geographic
I read at breakfast.

The survivors stagger out,
grateful to be alive.

Inertia Magazine April 2015