Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I am twenty-five and I’ve moved
back in with my parents

My father follows me around
the house, turning off lights.
Tonight he is organizing things
in jars: pine cones of varying sizes,
wooden spools of thread, antique
buttons, clear marbles and pieces
of shell. When I was a girl we
scoured beaches for agates, pumice,
and smooth flat rocks. Driftwood
shaped like the spread wings
of geese. Anything we could see through.
Now the shelves where I sleep
are lined with jars. Wheat pennies
and wine bottle corks. Fourth of July
buttons, and the rubber wheels
of Matchbox cars.  I am fond
of the small celluloid cows
and sheep. I know how it hurts
to lose.  Save everything.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Part two

during the summer i was most happy

twice i was afraid. once
swimming in the canyon falls
and once when we went too
far into the mountain basin
and the trail stopped just as
the clouds darkened. all day
i had only seen two ravens,
one hawk. we had to scale
back up the rock face
we climbed down.

but       so often my sadness
is a type of fear         and

paired with my fear of water,
paired with my dread of heights,
paired with my anxiety of omens
in the form of birds

there too           stood my sadness,
at the thought of losing you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poems about Leaving, Part One

Driving through Montana After the Wedding

Already I miss my friends-
having spent three full days
together, drinking, eating,
dancing, laughing. 

Full with the glad warmth
of watching the first of us wed,
we were surprised to find
the high desert cold at night.
So we slept stomach 
to back on pull-out beds. 

And now the golden hills
of Montana with the shadows
of clouds, and the wind
forever moving them around.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

i love the last stanza

Self Portrait as a Meadow

by Linda Norton

There is a chair
the heart of which
is wooden
split five ways
and grass pressed flat
where we kissed
where others later kissed
on the same mattress
and solemn nothing
happening under a canopy—

Have you forgotten me?

I will go down wonderfully
as was told in proverbs
though for a long time I thought
I should not go.

Here are things that have
no Latin names
or none
that men would know.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

this kind of bird sleeps all day

There is a swift roosting
in the cavity of my chest.  
Every time you enter  
the room, he ruffs
his wings.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

june poem


The garden roses peak in quick
succession, each a different shade
of circus orange or absolutely
pink. And as one begins to bow,
I am left counting the green
buds left on the bush.

How long does anything last?
Always I have been grateful
for seasons change: the muted
shades of autumn after summer’s
fluorescence. Winter’s quiet
fields of swans and spring’s
quick revival of song—

but darling, already the rain
has mashed the peony’s
layered petals into a brown mitt
and the roses are parading
into summer. Over here,
I blush for you, again and again: 
it is this I am trying to hold on to.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Extraordinary Occurrence of Words

There is a dream I have
where the mute child speaks.
It isn’t even as if she
has so much to say, but
just last night she was telling me
how her brother is not afraid
of bees and how her father
made her laugh by pretending
to eat her toes. Maybe it is
selfish for me to want words
from her when I already
have everything I need, but
last night I was delighted
to hear she wanted red pasta
over potatoes and green beans.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

april 12

After a Month of Rain

Everything I thought I wanted
is right here,
particularly when the sun
is making such a comeback,

and the lilac engorged
with purple has recovered
from its severe pruning,
and you will be back soon

to dispel whatever it is
that overtakes me like leaf blight,
even on a day like this. I can still
hear remnants of the rain

in the swollen stream
behind the house, in the faint
dripping under the eaves,
persistent as memory.

And all the things I didn't think
I wanted, cut like the lilac back
to the root, push up again
from underground.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3, 2012

Rain all morning as it does.
Her belly like an apple
about to drop. Any day now
any day now              now.
Outside the ducks
are wearing their best colors
despite the heaviness of rain.

By afternoon the dogwood
has bloomed before my eyes.
Pink camellia petals scatter
the wet drive and even I
can see,
all good things
come to those who wait.

Monday, March 19, 2012

i'll show you my apartment if you show me yours

Let me have
I want
before I change
I want.
Your teeth.
Let me see
your teeth
before I bite.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

bean goes to colorado to see her bestie (normally she doesn't speak in the third person but right now it feels right)

mostly, there was beer

and cruising to drake

and breakfast at snooze

and she saw the red rocks

and a fire on the side of the road as she was leaving

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

or why speaking to you is difficult

Winter of snowy owls on tiny
roofs and juvenile eagles
in the fingers of trees.
This is our winter,
of waiting.
I’ve learned to measure
tides by the smell of the wind
and to nurse a child out of fever.
What I cherish most is this:
the want of some thing
so badly,
my whole torso aches with it.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

this is my 200th post

 what we ate when we were with her

I don’t think you understand. My grandmother used to make us pizzas on English muffins, with tomato sauce and melted cheddar cheese. They tasted horrible, but I found comfort in them. Once, my brother and I assaulted her with malt balls. From the dining room, we used spoons to sling shot malt balls at her. She looked up from her paperback romance, over the rim of her glasses, and asked what in the world we were doing. What were we doing? The worst we could do received a “shame on you.” Most nights we had frozen chicken nuggets, which I loved. My mother would come home smelling like chrysanthemums and Grandma would leave in her puffy mauve jacket. She took us to Costco every other week to pick up a deluxe pack of Marlboros for Grandfather. Because in Grandma’s version of Genesis, Eve was a dumb whore. Mornings, Grandma would bring over frosted donut holes and we’d watch the soaps. My brother in his batman pajamas. When my cousin stayed with us, his father gave him a twenty dollar bill for lunch. Which we spent entirely on candy from the corner store called “Sunshine Grocery.”Sour patch kids and malt balls probably. Afterwards, Josh climbed the tallest tree in the backyard and refused to come down. “Shame on you,” my grandmother said, and walked away. She was always forgetting her coffee in the microwave. My mother wondered if she got dressed in the dark. No one is perfect. I don’t think anyone has ever loved us more. My sister with her baby doll dresses. My uneven pigtails and crooked jaw. My cousin, high up in the tree, so still and sad. Years later he stole 8,000 dollars from his father and disappeared. He had red hair the color of some larger crabs. My grandmother moved into the low income apartment buildings across from the Everett jail. She set up a shrine for my dead grandfather on her dresser. It became evident that he was a very good fisherman. I remember our last meal together, on her birthday. We went to the fancy seafood restaurant by the water. Because she wanted to see the water while she ate. But once we were all there, she forgot about the water and sat with her back to the window. This upset my mother. The tiny stroke also upset my mother. And then the aneurism and the larger stroke following the surgery. Josh, who had disappeared, reappeared. Because he knew his father wouldn’t be there. Because it became evident we had lost something we could not get back. We ate dry hamburgers in the hospital cafeteria and my father came straight from his bread route and told that story about the canary, and his own mother. But he embellished it for us all: we all knew the canary that was sucked into the vacuum cleaner did not survive, and that his mother did not build for it a tiny wing cast. This was when my father had the swollen sty on his left eye and the horrible racket of a cough. When the young boy nurse, with the tight scrubs that showed off his boxer briefs, turned her over, my grandmother stopped breathing for over a minute. He thought he had killed her. We all laughed when he left the room, because his eyes were so large. I held Grandma’s hand as she passed. I held my baby brother afterward, when his shoulders shook. I always thought she loved him the most, but doesn’t everybody love him the most? Some people you just want to protect from the world by loving them more. I don’t think anyone can love him more than I love him. Even when my grandmother was dying, she was trying to protect us from the world. Her eye was swollen to the size of a baseball. She had blood on her brain. We were at the county hospital, not quite the top floor. The sun was just about to drop out of the sky, but first it had to hit the city rooftops and windows and cast itself on the white hospital beds around the city. This is just like in Touched by an Angel, almost. “Look,” my grandmother managed to say, “Look how beautiful the sun is as it sets.” And I think the last thing she said, was “Go home.” Afterwards, someone ordered this horrible take out from an Italian restaurant. It was fettuccine and it made my mother sick and it did not bring me any comfort.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


for my mother

They are fleeting.
They are fragile.
They require

little water.
They’ll surprise you.
They’ll remind you

that they aren’t
and they are you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 My Apologies

The ducks of this weather
are stony. By afternoon
the lake disappears
like swans on the wing.
Someone kind
left apples and pecans
for winter’s varied thrush
and the orange of his belly
alarms me.
Finally I have allowed myself
solitude, only to find
it does not suit me.
I watch birds with ruffed
feathers and recall the white
of my thighs when
we made love by the river.
Of course I miss you.
Isn’t that my body
remembering my body?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


By Tess Gallagher
I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,   
an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.