Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tanka Pair

From a seedling

on one branch
early slaveholders, 
on another 
an abolitionist . . .
the shades of my forebears 

beneath the ground
the remains of a tree—
till I phone her
she doesn't realize
it's Mother's Day

Skylark, winter 2016

I had intended to post this here in time for Mother's Day. I believe "beneath" was written in May 2015.

The abolitionist refers to a colorful, English-born great, great grandfather of mine who was acquainted with the well-known antislavery figure John Brown. Luckily, he didn't ride with the gang that fateful day to Harper's Ferry. Other ancestors of mine, from another line, settled in Virginia Colony from England beginning around 1650; they seem to have been landholders and possibly surveyors and, yes, apparently they (at least some of them) had a few slaves.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I gather

I gather
clumps of aloe vera
for my neighbor—
life spreads hither and yon
from my mother's garden

Earth: Our Common Ground (a Skylark Publishing anthology), 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tanka Sequence (Set)


splashed all over
my dress—
bare-armed, I scattered
the seeds of childhood

for so long
she draped it around herself
the same thick cloak
that near the end
slipped off her shoulders

Skylark, 5:1, Summer 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017


soaks into my pores ...
sudsy with the scent
of crisp Iowa pine

—Earth: Our Common Ground (anthology), Skylark Publishing, spring 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tanka Prose


veins of lightning
flash their warning
to the earth …
the silent rivers  
that daily course through me

Despite the rain, we have all the hope of safely arriving home this spring afternoon. But then the heavens open wide. Sky soon blends into road, which blends into flash-floodwater. A massive wash of gray, a lengthy line of traffic.  

We make the decision to turn around in our tiny vehicle at the last-possible opportunity to do so—just before the tall pickup truck ahead of us goes barreling through, water up to its taillights. It appears that a second pickup, from the other direction, could be floating. (We later realize this is where the highway dips and that the stream has risen well above the small bridge.) But halfway into the turn, momentary panic engulfs me: could the way back now be as treacherous as the way we were headed?    

—FM 1774, Waller County, Texas, USA

—Atlas Poetica, Spring 2017


This event took place last May, about two weeks after my mother's passing and two weeks after the first set of spring rains, which caused much flooding in Houston and the surrounding areas. What a shocker: we heard that a foot of rain fell that afternoon in just one hour. This story is part one. The second part, "No room at the inn," will be posted in a few weeks, once it's been published.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

All my life

all my life
a yen for small
or discarded things 
... a poem's seed

Skylark, summer 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

One door

one door
marked electrical
the other, stairs
sometimes I'm tempted
to open the wrong one

GUSTS, spring/summer 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Crows and clocks

crows and clocks,
clatter in the kitchen
from my husband ...
how active the world is
while I'm inclined to slumber

GUSTS, spring/summer 2017