The Herd, My Family


, , , , , , , , ,

The familiar sounds of mi familia,

a hu-hu-hu-hu-hu of many hellos,

and a foal’s heart-shaped muzzle

pressed through the bars,

waiting for a welcoming kiss.

There’s only one way for the heart to go,

and that is up, up,up, where the soul,

the spirit, the thing we know

that is delighted there,

has finally founds its home.


Wild Geese and Russia


, , , , , , , ,

In a world of untrue things,

I choose to celebrate

the migration of wild geese in November,

and the stillness of this sunrise,

a quiet, broken conversation

passing through a cloud-filled sky.

The Breathing


, , , , , , , , , , ,

There is a fine line,

so skinny, so fragile;

what is,

on the other side,

breathing hard.

A horse can hear,

a deer can hear it,

but we do not,

and we live, mostly,

without fear.

Recently, the paths diverged:

what should have been,

but wasn’t,

what was,

but shouldn’t have been,

and I wonder

if those two ways,

continue in different spheres.

I  hear their breathing,

each year, stronger,

and something, like love,

pulling me there.

What is time,

but a rotation under the sun,

a perception of what has been,

a perception of moving

toward what is to come.




Prayers At Whitestone Rock 1


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Even the birds are drawn

to the face of Whitestone Rock:

Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Osprey,

and the Blue Heron,

with its long, liquid wings.

We are gathered in prayer,

trespasses forgiven, under the shade

of an eight hundred foot cliff.

Its granite face, bathed in wisdom,

looks down upon us;

give us this day, and forgive us.

Absolution comes swiftly,

because it was always there,

where the trout jump in celebration,

and feast on dragonflies, butterflies,

mosquitoes, and scraps of our bread.

The Columbia, whose waters never end,

like the reflection of our souls

naked and frail,

baptized in cold water,

as we float on our backs,

and look up at the altar.

Somewhere Between This Soft Day


, , , , , , , , ,

Warm September wind, sunshine,

manure drying itself in round piles

you can kick, and dissolve into dust.

The sweet smell of it, the same

as it smelled thirty-three years ago,

at Harold Johnson’s place.

I breathe in memories like air,

close my eyes and see them all

alive again, laughing, telling jokes

about how they want to come back,

When they die, as a young girl’s horse.

Everything is the same.

Everything is completely different,

but more and more, I’m somewhere

between this soft day,

And memories

of this soft day some place else.

Dispatching An Ornery Old Goat (With Big Horns)


, , , , , ,

The ornery old goat has been dispatched,

The one with the beard and the horns,

He scared all the children, in bucking fit fevers,

And he tripped up the mares and the foals.

The ornery old goat has been dispatched,

The one who ate all of the grain,

He’d stand up beside you,

Stick a horn towards your good eye,

And make even the strong turn away.

The ornery old goat has been dispatched,

The one born more than twelve years ago.

The ornery old goat has been dispatched,

But we were sad to see him go.

How Far It Reaches


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes, missing feels like stone,

a fear that what seems over,

really is over. To be alone,

is no small thing, even though,

it seems, we always are.

Between us, an invisible thread

throws itself out, and stretches—

have you seen a silk thread

blowing itself out with the wind,

reaching, reaching—how far it reaches,

attached to nothing, but air.

Song of the Orange Butterfly, In-Between Shores


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am sun off water,

spirit, which takes form

Through transformation.


Lowest belly creature,

To this fairytale life.

Yet, I am lost,

Somehow wandered

Between safe shores.

Water everywhere.

And the mud swallows,

Who make their nests

In the river banks,

Desperate for me.

You see, a pretty thing

Can suffer, too:

Frantic beating of wing.

In this short life,

I will both sing,

And cease to be.

Come To Me, I Am Free


, , , , , , , , ,

Hate, stealing our moments

And sometimes our lives,

Hanging on to grievance

As if it were a solid thing,

Like a rock, a sturdy branch.

Someone told me,

Bitterness is like drinking poison

And waiting for the other person to die.

Wisdom, like a real branch,

More solid than grief,

Sometimes, more solid

Than the hurt we carry

Like a bag of stones

Over our backs,

Always thinking our burden heavy,

Unable to set it down

And see the world opening

Like the blossoms of the Serviceberry,

Peeking from under pines,

Saying, come to me, I am free,

And, for a moment, we rest

In their waxy, white peace.

The world is a strange place,

How we look to its ugly spots,

So rare,

Compared to its lovely ripples:

The trembling leaves,

The musty smell of grass,

Blue lakes, like mirrors,

Waiting for us to jump free.