I cannot change the world they are living into,
but I can change the world they live in
for the tremor of a moment,
the same way we all can for each other with a
small smile or knowing sigh
and the fierce act of living in the world with an open heart.
Originally published in Askew, Issue 16
One day at dusk the termites in unison exploded
from every wooded surface,
each stump and dead tree
marked by droves of soft-headed insects,
emerging into air
and making their first flights.
Some flew and fell to the ground,
wings in a tangle.
Others were snatched from midair
by a parade of evening birds,
juncos, tanagers, sapsuckers,
gathering food that would become
the wings of their own young.
As the termites floated through darkening skies,
I wondered how it felt to emerge from the tree stump,
to unfold those thinly webbed wings,
to crawl outside of darkness and the familiar
world of damp wood, to row through the air
with the movements of muscles unused.
And I wondered how I felt entering this life,
If after being washed and wiped dry and placed
into my mother’s arms, those first few breaths
were anything like flight.
On the evolution of shadows
Originally published in New South Vol. 7, No. 2 (2014)
Shadows swallow shadows,
stone shapes stone.
everything argued into soft edgedness
by drip and drip of the rain,
the diligence of beetles.
Wonder- what was the first shape that
stepped in front of the sun,
left its imprint on the skin of the earth?
Was it a ridgeline thrust up from crust,
or rock cracked, darkness dropped from behind.
There was infant moon’s first eclipse,
trees turned into sundials,
wings sailed birds across the landscapes-
when did the beings of the ground learn
to fear what flew above?
Does the mouse dream of sleep
when the hawk
blocks the light?
Human hands arrived
and threw the ghost of
sparks on dim walls,
sent stone wheels rolling disks
of darkness over the ground.
We have made
a new library of outlines, wrought
webbing between stained glass,
straight-lined wooden benches,
teakettle, pencil, awl, airplane,
the space behind the picture frame,
each one also altered by entropy, borders fuzzed
But I want to beg the elements to fast forward
and wear through
erode the darkest
shadows, the hardest shadows,
I wish were only dreams.