Hank Knows What

April 23rd, 2020

It happens nearly every walk.
Hank dives into woods like a deer
hurdling logs and bramble.
Then the yelps begin. One or two,
or, like today, a litany of shrieks
accompanied by popping cracks
of unseen branches breaking that
sets me running, whistling, yelling,
hatching plans for mountain lions,
mother bears, bull elk, unexpected
yucca knives or cactus patches.
I watch for his emergence up ahead
or behind, but often, I am wrong;
he is waiting on the opposite end
of my terrible anticipation, sitting calmly
on the trail, or running to me full stride,
adrenaline lit, crazy eyed, tongue
lolled, breath ragged, coat dry,
unscathed by Hank knows what.


White Woods

April 22nd, 2020

Gentle graupel in the aspen grove
where many trees have also fallen,
bark peeling, drunken leaning
on others, angles reminiscent
of the makeshift forts of youth.
Leo lost his collar on a branch, dodged
my effort to slide it over his face,
whitened with age, ID tag tinkling.
Except for a few sawed off limbs
that otherwise would have interfered
with the trail—one amputee looking oddly
like a gas mask in this time of Covid-19,
one letter off of making me think
of nineteen ravens on a road—
the whole wooden mess a testament
to this town’s peace with entropy,
its loving pact with benign neglect, to let
woods be woods without human
meddling. Lightly pelted from above,
the dogs jogged on, occasionally
looking up at sky, wondering, mouths
open, catching graupel. Our coats,
speckled white, became wet.
We walked on, admiring the creek,
lapping its song here and there.
Thunder rolled. Hank reined in
the tangled thread of his roaming
at my side. Lost in thoughts
of Hank-turned-Christo, weaving
the forest white with yarn spooling off
his black back, I also lost track of Leo.
Liverspotted with his usual fear
of thunder, he disappeared. I called
and called his name, whistled
our whistle to silence and empty trail
for too long. Maybe he was quivering
in a lump under some ponderosa
I had missed while dreaming aspen,
woven yarn, graupel. Five minutes
from the car, my phone rang
inside my pocket. It was Caroline.
“Leo’s here. He showed up shivering.
Lucy is consoling him.” And she was,
when I arrived, with her customary
sniffs and licks, full red-body wag.
He could have landed anywhere,
at any other home. We laughed
at the wonder of dogs, the miracle
of a nose threading space with hope
toward a friendly door from the deep
heart of woods and mountain thunder.


Dead Metaphors

April 20th, 2020

Four turkey vultures
riding thermals overhead
used to mean something.


Mueller, Not Kerouac

April 19th, 2020

City Lights Bookstore
I look for Jack on the shelves
Not as books, but air

(He’s there)

15 February 2020

When I Think I’m at Peace

April 18th, 2020

Coyote loves digging me.
I follow him to the boneyard
again and again. In the quiet
I caress the bleached skulls
of my favorite mistakes.

I remember eyes moving
in sockets, lips, tongues,
each one very hungry,
headquarters of whole
bodies I thought were mine.

Arms and legs, fingers, toes,
vertebrae, hips all mixed up
as one. Guts are long gone.

He sits at my feet, panting
proudly like a lab who just
dropped a fat, warm goose.

Good boy, I say. This humerus
is for you. He runs away.



April 17th, 2020

Life cracks you in half—
a stick for Prometheus
to bring you fire


Normal Blues

April 16th, 2020

I will mourn
the return to normal
when this slowing
this no going
is gone.


Broken Trunk Aspen

April 15th, 2020

Broken trunk aspen
Gnarled hand parallel to earth
Offers fuzzy buds


Crestone Mosquitos

April 14th, 2020

Thousands     hover             and crawl

all over           the sliding door

like alien         invaders

sniffing blood            through glass.

Tomatoes       are growing,

 Kale       and     mixed greens.

I will let them       go to seed,

held hostage              in my home

by mosquitos.

 They               gather                 in shadows

of rich                         foliage.

Armored         in full sleeves

and long pants          in the slow heat

of summer,                 I sweat,           reach in

to gather                    blooms.

I wince            at the whine                         a choir

of                                bloodlust.

I watch           a newborn’s mother

slap his head.                         His first

mosquito bite,            baptized         by a splat

of his own                  new blood.

End of July,    I can    finally

walk my dogs             without

mosquito net,        with bare       arms

and legs                under stars.

The                  stars shine          like the eyes

of mosquitos              endlessly

swarming       the night.


A Juniper/Piñon Forest
Makes Its Case For Forgetting

April 13th, 2020

Dead branches, unneedled
Sprung early and low—
Trees’ oldest fond mem’ries
Suck vigor, spark glow.


I am Handing Off My Children

April 12th, 2020

I am handing off my children
to you. Yes, you.

Her burning lamps, fire hoses,
massive dogs, Deathly Hallows,
spring beauty, conch tattoo

His nose scratch, snowboard air,
peanut butter, Poe rib-quote, fractal dreams,
archaeologies of digital sound

His preschool tortilla recipe, flawless cookies,
sunset-from-the-stupa gaze, Mannaz ink,
poleless skis, dog whisperings

They have secrets you don’t know.
I can’t tell you. Earn them.


Twelve Stay-at-Home Haiku

April 11th, 2020

to honor my annual Poem-a-Day practice, one for each day I missed this month, plus an extra one for Dorell

How did I forget
National Poetry Month?
Better start writing


Phone plugged in, I sleep
No need to set the alarm
Work’s habit wakes me


Back ache, melted face
This couch my awful office
Thanks, Google Classroom


Delphinium grows
In plastic pots on my porch
They always stay home


Endless To Do clicks
Essays, artwork trickle in
Teach, reduced to tabs


Every other day
Shower or not to shower
I know by sniffing


State’s first phone alert:
Essential activities
Like walking your pets

My dog, Hank, agrees
Could have told me this himself
Without governors


Fauci, forgive me
I know now is not the time
To take up smoking


Cemetery trail
We walk, gun shots pow pow pow
Walking partners balk


Light one smoke a day
I tell myself, rationing
Then spark up stale butts


Speaking of stale butts
With so much time on our hands
We grab each other’s

11 April 2020

National Poetry Month?

April 11th, 2020

Ten days in, ten feet from a friend, walking wide sandy roads out near the cemetery where ATVs and gunluvas tend to gather to shatter silence somewhere near dusk, I realized I forgot. How could I forget a ten year commitment to April’s Poem-a-Day practice? If you are here for some pandemically inspired, bored reason, join me in the challenge. It’s not too late.

National/Global Poetry Writing Month (Na/GloPoWriMo) offers great prompts each day. I haven’t checked them out, but I will if I get stuck. I’m not stuck yet, but it is only my Day One. I’ve gotta make up for lost time.

Here’s a link:

In the Study, with the Candlestick

March 18th, 2020

“How Parents Can Keep Kids Busy (and Learning) in Quarantine: as American schools close, parents are suddenly faced with the challenge of keeping their children occupied at home.” The Atlantic, March 16, 2020

Light catches in the dusty
window, crawls with juniper
shadows to night.
How slow we can go. How
many games we can play in one
day, week, months.

Cupboard forgotten cards
and pawns of childhood—
our own, our kids’—
sketch us just so, a study
of character, the revelation
and concealment

of hands, the microdistance
eyes travel to read motive,
intention, alliance.
Cardboard arenas of little
consequence: what we do, are
willing to do

to win, to lose, to anticipate
and thwart another’s loss
at personal cost,
to play and play until everyone
wins, everyone shouts YES!
at least once.


haiku for my love
in the time of quarantine

March 14th, 2020

love’s bright corona
our bed a microbiome
touch your lips to mine