Fallen Petals

Are not the fallen petals sacred under
trees, as memories, or leaves in autumn’s
thrall; vernal instability begun, her
tints take to flight in paper-hearts. Like Sodom’s
confetti, cast off bibilots obsessed
with covering the buried roots below
the shade.  Removing lace of spring’s confessed
attraction, for the sake of fruit, let go.
And so we turn from love and plunge as well
in seasoned change regardless of our gender,
despite intent, our feelings pitch pastel
and plummeting, as seeds of coriander,
give up the parsley for a fragrant brown
releasing height, accustomed to the ground.

Partly Buried

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I spent the anniversary of our
goodbye alone upon a shore with half-
moon rocks. A piece of lightning in a jar
or afternoon trapped in a photograph
could never give off light so cotton-clean
as tumbled feldspar can. How much like fruit,
or scattered ostrich eggs they are. The green
soft moss grew over some. The sluggish roots
of Ponderosa Pines had grown around
a few. Beyond a sandbar’s naked shoulder,
the place we spent all day just looking down
the river. Partly buried, there’s a boulder
we rolled together, struggling through the sand;
the windbreak for a fire we had planned.

Digesting Gravity

We frittered our conversation away
on the brittle edges of selective
vocabulary. Words, pale and objective,
hung like sheets over clan members,
hovered foamy on the pushed tide
of pretense and squatters rights.

Familiarity was the carcass
of a wooly mammoth
we were stepping gingerly over
with verbs and run-on sentences.

In this public place, where once
we had whispered over flapjacks,
flirted around a breakfast scramble,
we met in a back booth
to discuss the terms
of our convenient disentanglement
above a final waffle
dusted with powdered sugar.

Some maple syrup got stuck on the
edges of papers we were so civilly editing
and for a moment we slipped
on the softened ice of easy banter.

Just then, gravity
forgot itself in the small café.
All of the cups and saucers
lifted with the silverware,
the apron on a waitress
floated up a bit…

Whipped egg whites of reconsideration
appealed with a weightlessness,
but the side of regret
was inedible.

On the Crooked Fork

Beneath a cedar canopy,
the Maidenhair fern part
a slightly humid shade into wedges.
The Trillium, like vagabonds
with snowy petaled heads
are edges where waxy hearts
of wild ginger spread.
Blossomed Shooting Stars
twist in shapes of amethyst,
ignite at will against
a galaxy of chlorophyll,

on the Crooked Fork.
We saw the prehistoric looking
Sculpins where currents tremble,
lulled in turquoise-clean,
were poised above the Lima-bean
shaped pebbles.
We resembled a wishbone,
watching prone and stretching,
cupped hands magnified, submerged.
Side by side, on the verge
of catching
the shy creature and

we panned for gold and thought
we found a fleck, then made up names
for other fish, juggled speculations,
talked of filing claims,
struggled, smiling through a tiff.
We stayed until the evening breeze
spilled out freely in the trees;
banking off their bark.
Then a thrush in bursting keys
sang chiaroscuro’s last trapeze
and rang the Crooked Fork.

Body/Parts

His fingers were 10
oil-stained paint brushes,
soaking up turpentine
in a mason jar.
His fists were crumpled
Pall Mall packages,
banked from the lip
of a waste paper basket
and collected on the floor
in cellophane clutches.
His neck was a damp bar-towel,
half twisted and slung diagonally
across a red-vinyl stool.
His jaw was a swaying screen door,
finding its true level on a set of hinges.
His cheek bones were the curtain-brushed sills
beneath open apartment windows.
His eyes were not the iron marbles
bouncing off of bumpers
and racking up pinball points.
His forehead wasn’t a smooth
gallon-jar of pickled eggs
set beside the cash register
and his feet were not a needle’s movement
after one side of an album.
His legs however,
were the long rails of green felt,
hugged by an eight-ball,
all the way into the corner pocket.

Rugged Ride

This place gallops
in layered altitude,
humps in crested waves
of rugged stone,
pitifully breaks in sprays of boulders
unrolling through low valleys.
It wears the shadow of a cloud
for mile after rearing mile
with the carefulness of asbestos lace.
Most savagely, rakes it’s willful stubble
against a vestal sky;
misbehaves on shelves
of ingrown cliffs,
balances water in the stubborness
of succulents at impossible
saw-toothed angles.
It lords over the grim
Joshua trees living among
their own bleached corpses,
twisting gnarled arms outward
gesticulating abandonment.