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Make Soup, You Said

I’m making a soup
to fill my bowl.
I’m after that carrot of consolation
you dangle.
I would remember
a recipe
uttered
in that season of my childhood
without language.
The three sisters–
corn, beans and squash…
When they hold hands
they can give weight
while they dance and stir,
balanced in a circle chain,
resolved, complete.

If I know the right herbs,
if my flame is humble,
if I stir with the tide,
if I ladle with steadiness,
if I eat with grace,
if I digest with stillness,
I will understand
why you have gone.
I wrote you a letter.
(I had no place to mail it.)
I burnt it,
buried it,
scattered it,
sent it sailing,
nailed it to my bed.
Make soup, you said, nothing is simple.

(first appeared in Baltimore Review)

Big Talking Rocks

I’m moving the muscles to breathe in
cold water. They feel like bone in the effort.

We had the same brand of toothpaste
on the night we didn’t speak of the
dimming between us.

Snow that doesn’t stay.

You would kiss me poetically
then pull a story out of me like a
magician’s scarf, red then yellow
through my throat.

I undressed to expose skin
printed with stories I should have
withheld, psychic tattoos with ink so
shiny you were afraid to

touch and be branded.

I’m moving the muscles to speak of
big talking rocks, monoliths like
grandmother trees, who have
stories in whispered radio waves

because they stayed.

They speak in hugging colors and
purring hum smiles because they
watched while mammoths, raccoons,
wrens and Americans

skittered in circles that never avoided
their fate. Their muscles made them do it
while big talking rocks wrote the
mythology of staying long enough

for restlessness to have its season.
I brought the brand of toothpaste
you use. I have enough for the season of

snow that sticks.

(first appeared in Loch Raven Review)

A Pisces in the Timothy

The timothy grass is a lake of tickles and scrapes,
for capering and cackling in these
early days of fall.

I’m turning forty this winter.
I bring dogs, goats and my neighbor’s
children to the edge and watch
the show.

The air is satisfied. I love it till I hate it.
The children crisscross the waves and swordfight.
The shelties dive, surface and pounce.

Random mice and voles are herded
like fish in schools, unseen in
brown water.

I’m a pisces in the timothy, a fish on land.
Two inches, the right flip
and I could be righted.

The goats chew and check my location.
They depend on me and I live
vicariously. It’s television. Technicolor and verge.

A warm clean breeze is a moment to be savored
on the tongue, I learn from the goats.
From the dogs–A hole is to dig.
And children…Where is the child I
planned to have? The timothy spits pollen in undulations.

I make it hard, a pisces in the timothy.

Specific as a Seed

Specific as a seed,
not an oak if it’s a holly,
my next poem will break
your heart. You will
see a sunrise for the
first time and be still with
your coffee and your
breath. You will remember
the gloves you left at
Brenda’s. You will
remember a poem on
film and our argument over
my pet chicken. You will
see a sunrise for the
first time as a
canyon fire, out
of control, and you will
buy a ticket home.

You, standing in my
yard, will be to me as
specific as a seed.