prompt #12 — in the closet


People tell me stories.

Mostly their own.

How her beloved came out

as trans, and how she left him

her.  And how s/he wants

to be friends, and how she can’t.

How her husband was a serial cheat

unfaithful with her best friend.

How her own sister

had to tell him no.

And I wonder: am I a kind of closet?

As they offer me their stories

is it a kind of coming out?

Requiring trust, and a doorway

opening into sharing…?

What is it about closets, anyway?

That we place our secrets deep

within them, that walking out

of them is a declaration

a kind of freeing.

And am I a kind of doorknob..?


prompt #11: green tunnel path

Walking into green light


Wondering where I’m going.

Nothing looks the same

and there are no maps

no compass           nothing

to help with bearings.

In the end, it’s just trees

that frame a path leading

into the unknown.

Much like my life after.

prompt #10 — what is love

What is love, my son once asked me

You said it lasts forever.

But Uncle John left cousin Daniel

And Aunt Jane.

Will Daddy leave us?

Never, I replied to my son.

Yet, what is love but grief postponed?

Death will part us all, no matter

how faithful we remain.

Nothing, the Buddha tells us,

lasts forever. Only change.

So what is love if not grief

in waiting? Handmaiden to bliss

grief stands in its shadow

wearing widows weeds

watching      listening       waiting

prompt #9

A single tremor like a bell


That Friday, we watched the elk

cross the valley below us.

Down the road, the orange truck

rumbled from beneath the carport

where a single lightbulb hung

suspended in a thin pool of yellow.

The elk flowed around the elbow

of the fence in a cinnamon river

their white markings like letters

in some foreign alphabet.

How could we know the single

tremor that followed them

was a death knell?

All of it to disappear ~


prompt #8 — music (bees)

A collection of bees

         with apologies to Sylvan Esso

Bumblees flicker through the four o’clocks.

Almost as large as hummingbirds

their ungainly bodies hang from wings

furiously pumping.

Among the cosmos, honeybees drowse

their bodies dense with yellow pollen.

And in the umbels of fennel and dill

tiny native bees dart like the tongues

of snakes     back and forth       around

Summer. The September sun a gold coin

suspended in a peacock blue sky.

Above my head bees make gentle music

High soprano        rumbling bass

the sweet honeyed music of summer.

prompt #7 — blend of viator & tanka form

Prompt #7 – riff on viator form

Mind a wild stallion

snaking through switchback canyons

rearing when startled

unsure where to go

lost in a desert of grief

So that I breath in

mind an unbroken stallion

shy of other hands

listening for your voice

searching & remembering

when time ran calmly

no tangled ruminations

mind a gentled mare

and nothing behind but blue sky

the wildest thing      water

prompt hour 6: the edge of the earth

At the edge of the earth


At the edge of the earth

at the end of the time and space continuum

water stands still     and the leaves of trees

hang unstirring.      Nothing breathes

nothing moves.

It must be something like

grief            when the large hole

that moved in synchrony with another

rose to greet him    breathed

almost in the same key

tempo determined by another’s


Now           the edge of earth opens

a vast desolation of darkness

where even heartbeats quiet

in the knowledge

that beyond that sharp knife edge

is nothing.


prompt hour 5 ~ mystery

dark sky mystery

night unravels so slowly

pale dawn lurks behind

light beyond the horizon

just out of grasp       mystery

prompt #4 — marriage

Who cares

She told me no one cared about the two of us

Boring, she said. The struggles, the compromises.

how we learned so very painfully to listen

The way laughter slowly replaced anger

and the present outlived our pasts

No, she told me. No one wants to hear it.

I pointed to the words of another traveller

a woman whose name still rings silver

through halls so sacred. at least to someone

She gets it, I countered. A shrug. Dismissed.

But I insist: I will record how you lay in the floor

to charm me out of bitterness, my curses melting

into fragile hope. How you gave me a year

and how it grew like a many-trunked banyan tree

each trunk another year, another life explored.

Now, you are ash and memory. Like the earth

beneath that banyan tree. So I send these

words into the void, where hope still wars

with anger and despair, and I do not care

about those others, those she said will not care.

prompt 3 — form poem

Death is a fallow field

memory what grows there, thin and fragile-stalked

fragrant as basil

a cacophony of birds

I can taste their songs

honey on the tongue

Glen told me once

perhaps on a boat floating down

an ancient river      one of so many

we rode together

that death was a killing field

Nothing grows there, he said


But I have seen the leaves sway

beneath the Lahaina banyan

and maybe it will live

Perhaps the fire ignited

a phoenix heart

nestled among a thousand trunks

the igneous gold of survival

where fire becomes wings

and I can fly to you

on bright feathers.


Britt, you told me,

I am leaving.

Welcome death for me

it is my friend.

Non, I answer:

Le mort n’est pas notre ami.

The banyan tree nods

its many naked, seared heads

and the fallow field of death

is lightly furred with green


1 2 3 11