Caught Sight


An unexpected storm puts out smoldering forest roots, ending fire season early.

Water persists through unseeable spaces between glass and window frames. Water’s tears displace dust, leaving streaks down the walls of the subdivided apartment.

I have little time to feel.

The pants I wear to work and work alone drape perpetually over the yellow chair.

The hills turn a generous green.

Weekends are for my new love. Twice we trailed the periphery of the zoo to lunch beside the wolves for free.

Once we followed a deer trail to an abandoned barn. We used the corners of the corrugated wall as steps to dangle inward at the square opening.

We hardly breathed at two owls above the meeting of wood beams. I only saw their silent backs as they fled—our presences forcing them into midday light. 



A neighbor through the wall plays classical piano less and less over the months.

Another learns guitar through a merciless repetition of top fifty alternative hits.

I can admit I’m unwell. I wouldn’t call a web colorless, shifting from invisible to everything. 

The yellow mullein bloom corkscrews, searching for sun.

I turn from the sense that I know myself to the sense that I had some friends who knew me well, though I didn’t know myself to them. 

An unhatched chick turns its right eye to its outer shell. The right eye develops to find food up close. The left eye, wing-tucked, develops to see distant threat.

My uncle in grief hasn’t slept for days. When he finally does, he wakes eager to tell my aunt about his dream. A feral cat leads him to his truck where a mother screech owl and her babies nest.

zero in on

I turn on a light in a room I pace away from
take comfort behind neon signs    nested in wires
an errant mirror propped against a commercial strip
or cradled awkwardly in the elbows of a passerby
my legs become their legs
mushrooms came before us needing no light
now they clean up oil spills    rebuild biomes
ripped green awnings of my youth have become
sleek noun and noun stores like Gold and Rust where 
you can buy boutique sticks    stones    dead flowers
I’m more turned on by the defunct Mustang
its turquoise alive in the rain    nostalgia is dangerous 
turquoise that took millions of years to form   mined up
when there was one woman per one thousand men
Jin Ho threw herself into the bay when she learned
she would be sold into prostitution
threw herself not jumped so even in history she is 
an object possessing herself in an act of dispossession 
you make everything about yourself    
as if there’s another realm where I am real
if only    there was something essential    
an oil I could purchase that would reflect only you 
in my floral wrists shielding my eyes
here    take everything    my social security number
my hope that the rush of a population will crash

Related Poems


Nothing can make, make me want
to stay
in this world—

not the grass
with its head of hair
turning grey—

not the swayback horse
in the field
I swear I almost saw

start to saunter—

nor the bent shadows
late in the day
drawing close—

the neighbor’s boat
not yet docked
gathering snow

not the dream
with the moose hunched
in its crown

shedding velvet
led by a silver halter
through the shaded campground—

a shawl over its shoulders
like a caftan on a grandmother
or her rocker

whenever she’s no longer there.

Not the brass nail-heads
on the Adirondack chair
I put together, sweating,

this morning, that creaks
but still
does hold—

nor the cries of the others
above water, beloved
bright voices of summer

echoing like the ice cream man
in his whirring truck—
along the curb his lights flash

like an ambulance
playing the tune
you cannot name—yet know—

except this babbling, like a light
barely shining,
from below the baby’s cracked door.

Conversation in Isolation

Neighbors nail the planks
dividing their yard from mine.
Our durable fence.

I walk half a block
before realizing I’ve
forgotten my mask.

One ant following
another, trusting we all
are going somewhere.

Stretched between two poles,
clothesline outside my window,
a robin’s rest stop.

Lemons fallen on
the sidewalk to be rescued
for my potpourri.

No one and nothing
touches me but this blue wind
with cool caresses.

Give Me This

I thought it was the neighbor’s cat back
to clean the clock of the fledgling robins low
in their nest stuck in the dense hedge by the house
but what came was much stranger, a liquidity
moving all muscle and bristle. A groundhog
slippery and waddle thieving my tomatoes still
green in the morning’s shade. I watched her
munch and stand on her haunches taking such
pleasure in the watery bites. Why am I not allowed
delight? A stranger writes to request my thoughts
on suffering. Barbed wire pulled out of the mouth,
as if demanding that I kneel to the trap of coiled
spikes used in warfare and fencing. Instead,
I watch the groundhog closer and a sound escapes
me, a small spasm of joy I did not imagine
when I woke. She is a funny creature and earnest,
and she is doing what she can to survive.