Out of the blue
I am waking
with my love
on Christmas
in Paris…
Unpredicted, I go
to cheer
on a friend
at an awards show
and receive one
Unforeseen, I answer
a midnight
the worst
to learn
after months
of despair,
one morning
I open my eyes
and I am
















I thought I would have to visit it
Ground Zero—so close—how could I not?
Once nearer though, I grew disenchanted
with the notion, decided I would not go after all

Quite by accident, I stumbled close to the site
Lost—again—on the Metro—surfaced, to get
my bearings; an elderly man urged me closer
with his cane, asked me—was I looking for it,
“the place”?

“No, no,” I protested, sounding weak and indecisive
in my own ears—hadn’t I come up less than a block
from the memorial? The old guy’s eyes glinted
in the sun as he stared at me, then said softly

“You wanna set a bit?” he patted the bench
beside him and suddenly weary, I slid down
resting my head on my overlarge suitcase
Smiling gratefully at him as he smiled back

“It was a purty day, much like this one, y’know—”
My bench-mate spoke so softly I had to strain
to hear him and it was unclear if he was
speaking to me or just mumbling to himself

“Sky as clear as this until, like confetti, pieces
of souls rained down …” I felt drops hit my hand
and in wonder, touched the wetness—
Then looked into his tear-filled eyes, felt my own

Sting, as he continued, “Imagine—I was passed
out that whole day long, didn’t wake up ‘til late
afternoon when everything was changed—them
big ol’ towers were crumbled to dust and all those

poor people—” We sat there in silence then-
Me, trying to imagine how that must have been
for him, and him, patting my hand, trying—
I don’t know what he was trying to do but whatever

It was, it worked: when I walked away from him
I felt revived in a way I hadn’t expected…


Black Dog and a Young Man



Didn’t I tell you I’d come back?

Didn’t I?

Not everyone breaks their promises

I don’t

I can tell you that right now

I’ll never lie to you

And I’ll never break a promise

You are my only friend

My best friend

I can promise you that



from a prompt put up by Tess Kincaid at The Mag based on artwork “black dog” by Zelco Nedic,


When You are Leaving Me

after Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle”

When you are leaving me, my gentle brother dear
Tread large and loud with sounds for all to know
Weep, weep filled with storms of sorrow as you disappear

While some shall say your time for going now is here
I will beg to differ that they cannot tell me that it is so
When you are leaving me, my gentle brother dear

All meaning well will say your rest is overdue I fear
But in this instance friends will be as wrong as any foe
Weep weep, filled with storms of sorrow as you disappear

The best of you I still need to hold beside me very dear
As I learn way too late the things to you I never got to show
Weep, weep filled with storms of sorrow as you disappear

Now as I lose you so many things are at last becoming clear
And I wish for time enough to love you more but feel so awfully low
Weep, weep filled with storms of sorrow as you disappear

My brother set to sail away from me and my corporeal near
Safe voyage to where-ever it is that now the fates decree you go
When you are leaving me, my gentle brother dear
Weep, weep filled with storms of sorrow as you disappear


In the Woods, the Stand










Trees mean as much to me as people
Sometimes even more, I venture
Especially the ones that take a stand

Birches are particularly strong and reliable
Known for their beauty of course
But also for their strength and durability

There are many hardwoods but birches
Are in a class of their own; in the forest
It is not unusual to find the trees grouped

In quite military-like configurations
Rows of these stately tall trees aligned
As if ready to march, or stand at attention

Birches – be they silver, paper-white
Or even weeping – are gracious, lovely trees
Never more so than when found, in a stand.


Living With a Wolf

When breathing became
impossible and I gathered
heartbeats like pearls
harboured secretly
You loped with me deep
into the woods our strides
matching those of
ancient ancestors
Long in the light you resisted
the urge to howl urging
me on with subtler
Prodding gently your lupine
nose wet against my
palm snuffling
when I was
Stop your eyes unfathomable
but filled with knowledge
beyond knowing
kept me
Until we came to the water
not a river nor
a lake as
expected at least
By me but a box of lakes
where you drank
your fill before
in a hair
Your tail flashing silver
between birch and larch
before I
folded myself
the waves


Her parents thought
the cops were out to trick
them, trying to shine them on
Her Daddy told the neighbours
In a whisper so sad they
could just about taste it

But after a couple of days
slid by like beads on a string
Both of them made a wish
On her lucky rabbit’s foot
—that paw she was never without—
Her mama holding it
on her lap like a pet
just stroking its raggedy pelt

Wondering where their girl
could be, her fingers described
the shape of the paw over and over
Occasionally she rubbed it across
her lips, inhaling deeply
As if by smell alone, she might
glean the knowledge – where, where

How could she be somewhere
without her lucky charm;
this point bothered them both
more than either would admit
this, and her backpack leaning
by the basement door


The Rip













The inevitability
of the rip cannot be
predicted nor can it be
ignored for its occurrence
takes place with a disturbing regularity

Such a thing
is barely managed
by a mechanic who is descended
from a long line of wrench-wranglers
whose whole reason for existing is to watch for the rip

Once the thing
has done its split
had its way for that generation
(for that much has been determined – one rip per mechanic)
and been successfully maneuvered closed again

All that is left
Is for the present wrench-wrangler
to await the birth of the next in line before
He dares close his weary eyes – after, of course
Training his successor in the ways of wrangling, and watching for the rip


photo by Parke-Harrison

From My Tower

I look directly down,
a sea of white lilacs
bobs and dances
round your base
The fragrance so heady
I forget
I am your prisoner still
Eventually I lift my eyes
to stare off,
and try to glimpse
the actual sea …

She is forever glorious —
Today’s no different—
Spring’s ocean sparkles
full of promise
Hues of aquamarine,
beryl, turquoise –
Those are just the layers
visible to me
Inhaling deeply
I am convinced
briny saltiness
is carried inland
all this way,
Coats my taste-buds,
makes my eyes sting –
It isn’t likely true
but I pretend

It makes captivity
more bearable
when I can make myself
believe these things
Believing also that
I have chosen
to be caged
in this tall aerie,
As if some exotic bird-woman
expecting to birth
a new race of bird-children,
Just biding my time
until the planets align
and my phoenix arises
from ashes anew and rescues me

Together we will fly off
into the blackness
that is night and free,
create a species
worthy of the time
I’ve spent up here
concocting such a future.