I don’t know her name. I don’t know
what she gathers of life
when she stands
in the morning


Learning to Tell

His earliest childhood years were
in battles and refugee camps,
no rocking chairs or playgrounds.



I come from a place
where flowers are celebrated
by being crushed between

Municipal Pool

We could get away by ourselves when we turned twelve,
could necktie beach towels, corsage the octagonal badge, the
get-away made on flip-flops if we lived closed enough.

Alive or Dead

You are either alive or dead
one or the other
there is a clear boundary
distinct like the River Styx


in tender onyx,
under pressure,
the sun spits
it’s splits onto
the ship that
peels like
a croissant.

Love Potion

Deep fried everything, buttered biscuits, hot grits with syrup,
black-eyed peas, corn bread,
bacon drippings collected in coffee cans

Fortune Cookies

Here’s a woman hired to write proverbs
Must be creative, inspired, concise
he who climbs a ladder begins at the first step


The storm didn’t knock out our power,
but left twigs and leaves scattered.


When I kissed
your clavicle, gooseflesh
popped like tiny
naked chicks peeping


“Take your father home,”
says the gravedigger, holding out
a sack of bones. In Mexico City

Native Shapes

The tree detritus falls,
dry and oblique, into piles
on the road that from a distance
look like armadillos, possums, feral cats,


coyote, Cooper’s hawk, flattened feathers
lifting in the breeze. But now, just ahead
in a loud gale of traffic at next tight turn,

Robot Prom

The kids nowadays spend twelve hundred easy
dressing their robots for the senior prom.
All May and June, ballrooms shake as these lumbering
robots dance and cavort, flirt, sneak booze, and,


Do we really need
another Liam, Noah, or Mason?
Emma, Charlotte, or Harper?
(I could go on…)


Sitting in the hoped-for warmth of a spring eve,
unseen jays screech from neighbouring garden trees.

SAT Sestina

The students’ attention span is 3 feet,

a narrow beam 3 feet less than their dreams.

Black Box

evening fare to paris this poem departed years ago nosed
north over rio#s dark lagoon leaving home and coming home

Bomb Lake

Two Taliban brothers huddle in a hand-scraped trench. They fire pot shots
at a passing convoy of eight trucks, plated and squat armadillos. The bullets

leaving empty

Two Buddhas once stood like giants
in the Afghan province of Bamiyan
until the Taliban blasted them down.

It Went On

It went on, they said.
The road to Baghdad,
The one you saw on the news
With the abandoned cars.