At my subconscious landscapes’ mercy
Opened to the inner life by sleep
Let voices usher me in
I am here to receive
Nightmares scare me still
Dreams tell me I’ve
always been
free to
be brave
And see what
Comes in the walk
The road bleak unseen
Walk and it will appear
You’ll know you are welcome here
Step by step, inch by inch you’ll find
Your life in your goosebumps and your mind


In Montana, (“like mountains!”)
Home of bears and wolves
And pale blue, green, purple Montana sapphires
And the periwinkle flower, 3 inches in the ground with fibrous roots
vinca major, and vinca minor
A woman spends the summer in service
of Glacier National Park
Above Bowman lake
Her eyes trained for fires
At 7 in the morning
The mountains’ reflection are perfect on the lake
I barely slept fearful we would be too late to make the cut
A limited number of people are allowed in –
we arrived first, not last
And made coffee and eggs on the beach
Andrew fished and taught me to cast
Full of fear that I would hook one of us in the legs
We overheard an off duty ranger
Tell some early hikers
Of the woman who lives above the trees
And about the bears
“Berries are in season
Don’t get between them and the huckleberry bushes and you will be fine
Three people died in the backwoods of the park this week
People don’t understand that this is the wilderness”
Our fire watcher goes up in the early summer
A mule packed with her most basic supplies
Up into the mountain and her cabin on stilts
And for four months she watches for fire
Her supplies meant to spread, stretch the summer
She watches the clouds and
reads what is white and what is grey
What is fire and what is storm
Smoke versus cumulus
I am child stomping through puddles
Thinking of taking her place, her summer job


Christmas comes as surely as July heat
Things slow to nothing when the frenzy ends
You’re waiting for me in the arrivals lounge
Feels strange to see airports full again
In the crowds I see plenty of first place bad Christmas sweaters
Three glass jars in the carryon bag I carried through two layovers
House careful quotients of nutmeg, and cloves
star anise and snapped cinnamon,
To stir into a simmering California red
With December oranges from the backyard
Maybe it’ll be just cold enough tonight
For mulled wine by L.A. moonlight
The headlights and taillights are cheerful as we drive
LAX to the San Gabriel foothills
Blue against the falling night
Home doesn’t mean what it used to these days
I’m grateful to say: I’m coming home for Christmas
To my love
It’s pizza in our friends home
And a free for all on Christmas morn
the ornaments we bought last year are on the tree swirling “Fuck 2020”


“Good things come to those who wait”

She sent me a children’s book drawing of white Jesus
Holding a giant teddy bear behind his back on the right side of the frame
As, on the left, a little girl clung to her bedraggled and lifeworn teddy
She was meant to give up what she loved
For the promise of what she could not see
I navigate away from the image, angry.


The years I spent in the desert of my mind,
in the concrete bleakness of the northwest end of my city
you spent in the pink and yellow and dust
a training base just north of Joshua tree
Where we went to celebrate me turning thirty
The years I spent singing and learning
You spent playing music and barking orders
Sargeant in the marine corps band
When we met you had had a few years to grow out your crew cut hair
And mine was growing out from a pixie
my hairdresser had cut inch by inch from halfway down my back
“Are you sure?” She asked and asked
A few more years ’til we chose not to kiss in northern Europe
to protect the secular and safe camaraderie we shared
But I decided our rule did not apply to me
Kissed you on an top of an old lookout tower
“A lifelong friendship is a marriage” my auntie said in the summer heat
When I flew back to Canada
Then you drove from the east coast of your country
And the night was cold
So I draped a blanket around us
And our love was a truth I finally told.


Coming from where I do
Nothing you say is normal
Feels right


Sometimes you just need to be taught
What you took on by osmosis
From words, meals and meetings
Isn’t the only way
Or even the best way
To speak, eat, commune
Twenty eight days with little assignments
with a book list and companions who didn’t grow up like you did
Teach how changeable the mind is


“Heilige einsamkeit (sacred solitude)” – Rilke

I came back for surgery and silence
I reach for you over miles
I wake to darkness behind blackout curtains
And it’s still dark where you are
I came home to find it was not home
A knowing I’d sung when I left
But could not hear over the din
Of the doubts well worn into grey matter
I came here to find my insides
To this chair on a coffee shop patio
With the murmur of conversation
And the whoosh of cars when the light goes green
I move in two weeks to make a new home
For my skin disease and my inner world
and the music I’ll make in between


I keep catching glimpses of a new way of being in the world but can’t hold on to the vision. Like a lichen too dry after years of drought to hold onto the rock when the wind comes up. Or like mist that floats through gorges and across mountains and winds up a droplet in the river that cuts the canyon. I search for stasis hoping it’s synonym is peace. But I hold on, fly off, float through, become water that cuts, to nourish the lichen on the rock by the riverside. “To see this is to be made free”.

(“The world is filled, and filled with the Absolute,” Teilhard de Chardin wrote.) “To see this is to be made free”. – Teilhard de Chardin, Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


packing, sorting, stitches healing,
worrying, stopping, stealing
eating, waiting, feeling
things take the time they take
songs and dreams and wedding plans
tongs and scenes and kicking cans
tongs in apps and going mad
things take the time they take
a year and three months of solitudes
first with and then without you
first with wine and then without soothing
things take the time they take
an excision is meant to cut out
pressure mounting, unexpected relapse
i waste my time on fear and doubt
things will break if they need to to break

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