Autumn’s Impediments

The frailty of frost among dead leaves,
a quiet hollow after
mourning doves migrate.
Exposed, the structured cartilage
of trees,
wishbones of weeds,
against the cold.
This selfish death
that nests inside of me
and freezes others out
until they go.



I should have known;
he was preoccupied with
natural hot springs.
Before we married,
he even tried to get
me to share one
with his priest.

An inch of
his lower lip,
but I wanted
to taste the
the Clearwater
in him,
smell Orofino and Pierce.

He was a pharmacist’s
adopted son,
had spent his boyhood
afternoons fishing
for Steelhead
below the dam
with a flamboyant
Sicilian grandmother.
She had played a pipe-
organ in Chicago
that last drop
into Idaho.

His great grandfather
had ridden
with Chaplin,
on a hobo hitch
in an empty freight car
through to Miles City,
I was enchanted.

It eventually came out
that as a teenager he would
slip into the
the family owned
after hours
with his father’s key.

He knew the back roads
and we camped one night
above the hissing river
on an unknown site
out of town
where Calvin Coolidge
had kept a mistress.
The old railroad tracks
ran out in front
of the dilapidated
where we had
explosive sex.

I should have known
because that night
while sleeping in his arms,
I dreamt of tigers.

Marmalade Sonnet

Don’t give me tongues of men and angels
pretty one,
but kindnesses to damnify this zero-hour.
My eyes are pale from staring at the sun
and platitudes of Babel’s leaning tower.
No prophecies I seek, nor bleak vignette,
but stretching in the puff of quiet moor;
the summits steeped in peak and pirouette,
blush suffused with burning flesh, not war.
Feed beetling crowds of shilly-shally sentences
to birds and other herds of pleasant beasts.
Put out rapscalian pipings of repentences,
leave mulling over mournings to the priests.
Put on the coffee, spread the marmalade,
let us find amusement in charades.


I saw him once in a horses nest
moiling over lime wedges,
his slices precise
as papercuts.
How his fingers
gingerly couched
my glass retreat,
carefully made
my change.

His eyes were hands
and arms were thighs.
I saw him horizontal. I
imagined him leaning
my kitchen counter,
our breakfast
well eaten.

Spine to cortex
he slid in
and up
then down again,
if warmth were caged,
my hips were Parakeets.

I measured
the arc of my breast
with his palm between
the rounds.
I knew
his draping robe askew,
his father’s face;
the everything
we didn’t share.


Two Mergansers “gruk”: informing.
Softened undertones of plucky
odors rising; shoreline warming.
Spring and rivers find their mucky
way along. I will be gone
south when Kingfishers, patrolling,
split the air in half at dawn.
Flying arrow-straight, controlling
glide above wild waterways.
Thrilling speed while fishing, does he
feel a joy in flight? My days
watching him have passed. Because he
can, he flies so fast.


Where inauspicious words can be atoned,
in gardens of sensations known to flesh,
beyond unopened blossoms of unknown
greens with sounds of many wings and breasts
in flight. There, you exist for me in thought,
what soft-bodied thing has found the night
in me this way? This chrysalis is not
aware that she can fly, for lack of sight.
Still seeing legs of caterpillar days,
I count on falls to help me float away.