Sorry To Be Such A Pest

I feel the need to apologize

to the bugs I kill in the house:

“Sorry, guy,” ruefully,

to the silverfish I squish,

his softness a smear

on my mint green wall.


Just days ago, I watched

a minute ant colony

industriously doom itself

in the trap by my desk,

amber flecks trundling

their poisonous lodes

through the tiniest crack.


they crawled up my leg

each time I put down my foot,

so something had to be done.


Not to mention the handsome,

impossible bumble bees

nesting just over the door.

The landlord sprayed,

but I’m guilty by association.

This morning a straggler lay

on the step, triangle wings

like a downed jet,

his body–fuzz

and shiny blackness.

Seven P.M.

The world is breathing. Its lovely life

whips waning light through peach cloud crowns,

lifts swifts to paddled flight

in blunt bodies built for gloaming.

If you cover your ears–hard–

and clench your arms–

you can hear your blood rejoicing.

Just so, cicadas–the tuneful roar

of circulating summer.

Persona Poem

I dance with their rules,

give them a spin just long enough

to get by.

To earn a buck,

I’ll do what they say.

But stay too long,

and you’re infiltrated.

You start thinking in khaki.

Your polo shirt collar

gets ’round your mind.


My mind is me.

There are worlds in there,

worlds that sing–

call and response–

with everything I see.

So I just keep seeing.

Like a turtle,

I carry my home with me–

only inside.


To My Big Sister

Remember the doll you made me,

her tiny, bendable limbs,

her auburn, embroidery-floss hair?

And that marvelous cape?

Remember the calligraphy you penned

and framed to spur me on in my writing?

Remember that first taste of shared freedom

when I visited you at college,

and you showed me the spot

where the warmth came up the sidewalk,

and another where a poet riffed on the stars.

We talked until you were hoarse.

May we never forget

our latest rain-drenched adventure

where we soaked to the skin in the woods

and I finally ruined my dress shoes.

I love how we fall, sometimes, into

singularly satisfying conversations–

explorations of ideas,

musings over an infinite map.


The gift of you as my sister, my dear,

is inestimable–a thing beyond achievement or price.


Rain is kin to resurrection

when you can read

the agony of short-lived things,

and drought coats even trees with dust.


When you can read

the cracked palm of familiar earth

and drought coats even trees with dust,

your body’s scenting for a storm.


The cracked palm of familiar earth

begs for easing.

Your body’s scenting for a storm;

you will the blue clouds down.


Beg for easing

the agony of short-lived things;

will the blue clouds down,

for rain’s akin to resurrection.

The One About Angst

To be honest,

I’m not clear on angst:

Breadcrumbs under one’s existential skin?

Psychological unrest of



mid-life guys who grow their hair?


What, exactly, is angst,

beyond asking questions in a petulant tone?


But I am clear on this:

The “tone” of the question doesn’t mean

that the question no longer matters.

If you have


live in your folks’ basement

have a biker fantasy

are the steadiest of family persons,


Your question matters.

Make Up

You can learn anything

from YouTube.

Lately, this has been eye shadow

and how to choose foundation.


And, no, I am not a teenager.


When I was a teenager,

zipping round the rink

to the evangelical enthusiasm

of Newsboys’ “Shine,”

I turned up my nose

at the two boldly made-up girls

and their dangling silver-dollar sized hoops.

After all, had not Alcott’s hero

been aghast to discover

his love interest “painted” her face?


Now, having lost interest in being

an old-fashioned “good girl”

(at least, beyond the demands of my paycheck),

I wonder if I can be bolder.


The worlds war.

Watching “before” and “after” faces–

it seems that each

has both lost and gained.

Dressing Up

The mirror is too high.

She cannot see herself

in the purple fairy dress,

so I lift her (high as I can)

and her happiness

over lavender ruffles

(above mismatched shoes),

is more stunning

than any designer gown.