The Storm

20150630_142618Like a stretch that opens the chest for a deeper breath, the Earth and sky opened. The sky was cathedralesque in proportion and haunted in color. Some mystic Michaelangelo had painted up there, tracing shapes and shadows for the crazed mind to interpret. Behind me, the sun breaks through to scatter golds in grays. Before me is a storm cloud,  so opaque, so dark and thick that I feel there must be something hidden in there, something coiling and roiling in its gut, breathing smoke from flared nostrils and sparking light from its claws, or the impact of its hooves against the steely heavens. In fact, I can hear its growling or perhaps its hoofbeats. An alarm blares on my radio, but I turned it off, listening only to the storm. I can’t help but notice that all the other traffic moves in the opposite direction, so that I alone drive into the teeth of the storm for surely that’s a maw opening before me. I turn a corner, and the road is mine. I face the storm head on, borne on wings of water.


Denim Guru

You were a guru in denim,

Sitting cross-legged in your room,

That always smelled of incense-

From the gas station-

In your blue jeans with white knees,

As if you had been praying.

They called you a hippy,

Or a geek-

But I knew you for what you truly were-

The quintessential human-

Reaching out-


Of catching anything.

As I was driving today

I heard a song that reminded me of you.

“you were my sweetest


In a strange breaking-

Of gender roles-

You were Delilah,

And I, Sampson.

I say I wear my hair short for convenience, but,

It’s really in tribute to you.

The River

I left my shoes on the riverbank.

The tendons under my skin stretched,

My toes sank into the sand.

I pulled my shirt over my head-

Left it beside my shoes.

I stepped into the water,

Slowly, carefully-

On round stones slick,

With moss.

Further I stepped-

To where the careening water,

Cut deep-

I walked in until the water,

Lapped hungrily at my bare thighs.

I was eager, yet hesitant,

It is easier to fling yourself wholeheartedly

Off some dock,

Or even to walk in until the water is deep,

than to lower yourself

Into its chilly embrace.

I sank down,

Stretched my body long in the water-

My full length in scattered sunbeams,

My still body quickened with the shock,

A thousand icy fingers,

Caressed the length of me.

My thighs tingled

As the water passed over me.

I stood-

Pulled myself from its embrace,

Though part of me wanted

Nothing more-

Than to sink back in,

And let the river stroke me,

For a while more.

Picking up my shoes and rumpled shirt,

I walked away, blushing.

Reflections on the Smell of Mint

I dry mints in my room.

Cat nip, bee balm,

The wild mint that grows

Roots wet in the lowlands

Prolific in spring.

I like the way they hang,

Leaves to the ground,

All in a bunch.

I like the rustle,

And when they crumble in my fingers…

I like the sudden fresh smell,

As if spring herself-

Storms in her train-

had stepped into the room.

I walk out into the Green World-

Black dog at my heels.

I am enveloped,

In morning mists-

Pierced by sun,

By bird song.

The Green World is my mother,

And my lover.

Surrounds me,

And penetrates me.

I hide from her for weeks-

Like a bear from the cold.

Yet she draws me out,

Envelopes me with shadows-

Pierces me with light.

‘Til I weep that-

Pure, brindled sight,

has seared my eyes.

Top of the World

I want to taste this world-

And the heavens too

I want to use the mountains-

As stepping stones.

I want to drink up rivers-

Let oceans fill me

I want to skip megaliths-

Across still bodies.

I want to hunt like a wolf-

Drink blood

Crack open bones-

To eat the red marrow.

I want to stand still as a tree-

Or a lonely rock

Let moss grow over me-

For thousands of years.

I want to find the lever-

That Archimedes sought

I want to stand at the top of the world,

Then step-

The Turtle

I sat by the pond, on an old gray dock that jutted out into the dark still water. The sky was gray and white, heavy overcast ceiling. The hidden birds were talkative, their tone conversational. My only companion was a wood duck, a drake by the shiny black green of his head, drifting complacently on unseen currents. I was reading a book of essays by Annie Dillard, which should always be read outside. A chainsaw occasionally roared in the distance, another machine, perhaps a lawn mower, even further off. A rain began to fall. It did not touch me yet and only announced its presence by concentric rings in the dark water, radiating outward.

I began to close my book, intending to head in to finish the chapter. I slid the crow feather I used as a bookmark back onto the page, the same color as the letters, and raised my eyes from the page. Something, some movement in the corner of my eye drew my gaze to a patch of water at the edge of the dock. There I was confronted by a snapping turtle, brown and knobby, his strong round limbs pushing him ponderously to the surface. He saw me, his eyes, ruddy brown gold, and mine made contact.

We stared at each other as he continued his ascent. His beak nose with its two little holes broke the surface. The stare was like a spell, holding us captive. He treaded water, watching as one blind hand scrabbled in a purse, looking for a camera that was actually in a jacket pocket.

I broke eye contact to look for it, and broke the spell with it. He waited until the camera was in my hand before pushing himself calmly down, quickly disappearing in to the black water until all that remained of his presence was a break in the greasy film that covered the pond. I looked at the picture I had taken. By the edge of the dock was a brown stain on the water, unrecognizable as a turtle. I laughed as I thought about excitedly showing this picture to my friends. I felt honored, though begrudgingly, as if a magician had stolen my watch.

Lakeside Fire

The fire, piled high with driftwood torn from docks in a recent tornado, sent up tendrils to lick the sky. Sparks and bright orange curls of wood dusted the clouds which covered the sky in dull overcast sheet, stealing away all the stars, any hint of moon tucked away until the only lights are those that shine across the water, green lights at the end of docks, yellow squares of windows, and our fire, crackling  and roaring in the silence, bravely and proudly rearing against the blank vault of the sky. I sat before it, feet and hands glittering where they were smudged with mica filled sand, glimmering scales on my palm like a fish. The heat of the fire was intense, forcing us to sit back from it in a wide half circle. It was a witching type of night. We had drawn mystic patterns in the sand by light of the setting sun. In the dark we told stories, weaving our own magic in the gloom and the sparks, our faces bathed in shadows and flames.

As the fire burnt low, so did we, our stories became grim and intricate. I believe we all felt remorse when we put out the fire, sizzling and roaring in its death throes, send up billows of gray smoke. We walked back up to the house, glittering sand trailing from our feet.