My Kingdom for 5 Stars (#5)

The sun rises, welcome lantern
Boots crunch leaves and ferns underfoot
Chipmunk chases squirrel
Laughter roils in my chest but feels inappropriate in this
Church of Nature’s building
Beech bends in the breeze
The clear brook steps lightly over buried stones, like a tickled piano
This is the loveliest of smokescreens
Fear’s jaws are clamped, embedded in my spine
Panic and giggles take turns, slither between the vertebrae, upraised hairs
Coil around my neck
The nagging certainty of lions and tigers and bears
Harshes the early buzz

Parfum (#4)

Mourning has a smell
An acrid odor that
Seeps through the pores
Creeps into the silken threads of clothes
Clings like a shadow

It singes the unsuspecting nose hairs of unwitting passersby,
Brimming with platitudes and goodwill
Perhaps they deserve it

Merciless in its assault
There is no escape

Behind each ear, the décolletage
It settles near the heart

Enters the room first
Follows the sorrowful like a comet’s tail
Noseblind and grief-stricken

Confessions of a Former Stalker (#3)

It was easier in the 90s
Under cover of anonymity

I called
Every day
For months

His voice was Jones-deep
Rumbled in my chest like thunder
Heart fluttered, a caffeinated hummingbird on crack
I couldn’t help it

I just wanted to hear it over and over again
Like he spoke just to
Leave a message

I called
Every day
For months

What did he think when he came home
Night after night,  to the
Sound of exhaled breath and the
Telephonic orchestra of clicks?
Ding, Dong, Ditch
Press button, run away

Did he daydream?
Wonder if shy caller’s breath was sweet?
Replay clicks, and

I called
Every day
For months

The Healer (#2)

for Zion

“Does it hurt?” she asks

Tracing the bumpy protrusion on my upper chest
With all the tenderness her
Two-year-old finger can muster
Furrowed brow

“Not anymore,” I say
“It’s all healed.”

I lie.

I don’t say that
Sometimes I lie in bed
Awakened by its renewed

That healed things on the outside are often
Unhealed in places we can’t see
Pulsing with
Resentment at having been
Violated in the first place

A desire resurfaces
Restates its original objection
Brings the pain out of the shadows for a
Remember me?

I don’t say
There are new wounds
Birthed in this place, named
Raw and Open and were she to
Touch them, no matter how tenderly
The pain would be excruciating

No scab
No scar

Just the sting of shred nerves, the
Aching of verbal lashes, salt ladled
With cruel, liberal hands
Languishing untended on the

I don’t say
Time enough for the Reality of
Things healed over
When she is old

“All better,” she says
Not a question

I tear
Wish her tenderness would last forever
In the tip of her tracing, trusting finger
She has the power to

A Charm Against the Mean-Hearted (#1)

Maraschino cherries
Pinch, then dash, then
Swig of apricot brandy
Tears collected in porcelain urns
Handful of the most fragrant ferns
Clip of hair from puppy’s tail
Peacock feather, random snail
Protect me
Let all cruelty


What a privilege to be in the august company of poets. We paint with words! I can’t find my favorite pen but I will press on. Excited to see what poetic gems the day will produce for us all. Happy writing!