We Were

From the book published in 2017, Refuge.

We Were

We used to be friends
we did all kinds of things together
knew the same people
talked with them talked about them
Lived in the same neighborhood and
knew all the same things about home and
what it was and
it wasn’t enough for you.




From Refuge, published in 2017.


The blue sky ignoring
the brown leafless branches rattling against the window
in a muscle-flexing wind
their dry flower-heads hanging on with no reason for it

The blue sky turning away
from the window where the shadows of the leafless branches
thrash at each other
across the motionless drapes not quite pulled shut
not quite
blocking out the blue sky



From the collection published in 2017, Refuge.


I am the girl sitting at the end of the bench
pushed off
when a more popular girl
squeezes in among her friends
sitting in the middle.
I am the pair of socks
in the least-wanted color
pushed to the side
of the empty display. I am
the verse of the song
that no one ever sings. I am
an all-day rainstorm
in a too-wet season. I am
the math textbook. I am
the answer no one hoped for. I am
not wanted.


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 11

The Marathon journey is in its third year. Put Pen to Paper is the current incarnation.

On March 21, I stayed at home for the Marathon session. Why? Lots of reasons. The library at Montco is closed for spring break, I’m still getting over yet another cold, and it was pouring rain. Pouring. Pouring. Did I say pouring?

Poetry Marathon 3-21-19 #14

I decided the signs were all there for a nice cozy day.

Poetry Marathon 3-21-19 #41

So I set up my materials in my office at home, fired up the space heater, and got to work.

Poetry Marathon 3-21-19 #23

I did some clean-up today. Spring cleaning, like the project I’ve got going on for my house and yard right now. You do not want details; let’s just say we’re overhauling the whole place, doing repairs, cleaning, and making note of future bigger-scale work that needs to be done.

You may remember I’ve been talking about writing longer things, like short stories, and I’ve spent some time at it. But you know, right now, I’ve found I just don’t like doing it that much.

What I like is writing short snapshots, impressions, whatever. Poetry works great for me. I don’t even like writing very long poems. My two-line Minuscule stories satisfy my need to tell a story – I find the compression of the story elements they require to be challenging and enjoyable, not restrictive. Dialogue makes me impatient and twitchy. I’d rather be the insect that zips in for a quick sting and gone or the bite of lemon in the sweet glazing on the cake, or a couple of sharp claps of the hands, or…I guess you see what I mean.

This is good information for me to know: and if I don’t like doing it, don’t do it, right? So today seemed like a good day to go through the stories in various stages that I have accumulated and see if there are any pieces of them that might like to go in another direction. Guess what, yes, there were – I was pleasantly surprised. I spent the morning pulling out the parts I wanted and discarding the rest. How freeing.

Some resolved themselves into future poems right away, but most are material for later episodes of putting pen to paper. A nice feeling it is to have such an inventory, like a cupboard full of food waiting to be made into dinners.

Poetry Marathon 3-21-19 #32

And then of course, the afternoon came, and with it, I did Little Vines.

Here is some work from today.

A tanka.

The heating system
thuds into a higher gear
a flow of warm air
arriving with the voice of
an approaching tornado

Sometimes I am out in the world and I wish I were at home.

Needing reassurance
I feel for my keys
I rub my fingers along their serrations
I don’t need to look at them
to trace the route through
these mountains and valleys
waiting to fit into the lock and turn it
The front door at my house
is waiting.

Little Vines.


Splot the tomato in my hair and call me a tossed salad?
Just try it and see where it gets you
I’ll sauté all of you and grill your ears.

The electricity in this house is so cluttered
I’m twitching at jolts I can’t anticipate
Around me, the charged air whirls.

Then one day I was free as a bird
no regrets but not no regrets either.
Just free.

The empty silver casserole dish
me looking into it
my bloated reflection staring back

the memory
now broken into fragments
I liked that world the way it was

the thunder and a few licks of rain
chased me down the street
a stray cat watching me from a doorstep

the gold mine
snapping its mouth open and shut
so what’s your guess it said
Get rich quick or not?

she is up to something
crushing the ice with her teeth
the juice staining her lips red

not one tooth in my head
ever liked this dentist
I had no idea until one day they bit him

moving day everything packed away
two jars of grape jelly
overlooked in a cabinet

not gargoyle
you idiot

she’s gone upstairs
trailing a river of lava
melting the ice in your veins

in the void
a few small screws holding things together
mean everything

The sewing machine
the needle punches
the fabric writhes
the thread tangles

the freezing carbon dioxide atmosphere
the color running from the sky in the rain
I had no idea how beautiful the afterlife could be

the neon sign flickers
as if the building were breathing
I open the door and walk in

in a sway kind of mood
it’s what you see reflected in my eyes

I laughed and he followed
he fluttered and I sparked
we were young and good-looking
in no hurry at all

Thank you for reading!


From Refuge, published in 2017.


The metal casement
worked itself loose long ago
now conspires with any gusty wind
in a duet of crescendo shrieks
falling into sudden off-tempo
silences that break
without warning
into a barrage of high-pitched


Tanka 101

Tanka 101

Oh this vivid shore
where I find myself at home
where intense belongs
where outsize emotions fill
the sky to overflowing

Image 39

Small Artist Sketchbook 2018 Image #39039



This poem is from my Small Artist Sketchbook 2018. Similar to my previous Large Artist Sketchbook 2017, I created artwork in a book over a period of time, 2016-2017-2018, and later wrote poems to go with each image. This book contains only haiku, shadorma, or tanka. All poems were published in the collection Clean Canvas in spring 2018 (without their illustrations).

In the sketch book, the poems are on the facing page for each illustration – here I am only showing you the illustration, with the text beneath it. Each poem is numbered according to my master list and the date refers to when I wrote the poem, not when the illustration was done.

Read and enjoy, and thank you!



From the collection published in 2017, Refuge.


The reader sits in the library
superimposed on
the atolls of peeled varnish
strung along the deep pale gouge
curving out
in a generous open-arm sweep
halfway across
the table a map of endurance and patience
cold feet
and the spark
of picking up the trail