long arms

When I remember
              slips
and pauses, down
often.

What, love?
Ghosts?

Palms to face, hold
the baby bird  |  my heart
one old           one new my
father’s smile and
the waves   |    laughter
I hold pure and threatening.
A heart is full, 
dark cry knifed in
the throat crawling,

the bark of trees
I cannot stop putting 
a palm upon, there 

a suspicion of beauty 
is kept. A person can 
become     inevitable-
fresh snow, long arms 
I hold them around the powder cold.

too wild to be a daisy

Daisies hold no memory, but there
above the creek alligators and otter
lay still in the Florida heat

on my stomach chaining weeds
like those in meadows far away
but small and fragile

in warm lungs was a god, in
paper, melodies and beats
a concrete sun, the

memory of heat/ I made a crown
call it confidence strung stem within split
stem, and soft petals holding on, un-

rooted quiet.  My quiet heart
sitting where no one would go
on the sign for a school twenty

deep mobile homes stacked in
repetition that dulls the senses.

But these children take
the long way home, empty
parks to play cops and robbers

or some hide in the safety
between rows at the library
absorbing what it means to

thrive and become like heroes

              or villains.

I see a wild kitten in the leaves
outside my window/ she leaps
and chases something she knows

to chase, and my cache of flowers
too wild and delicate to be
real daises- I chain a

crown, unroot the silence
without a sound but the song
becoming between breath

and thought.

daydreamer

Riding a manta ray
through mangroves, small
hands small feet like
a squirrel suddenly grounded

is ready/ I have

curls from my grandmother
that cannot be kept when I am
hot and salty between waves-

a girl I remember from before
taken by a fish of peculiar shape
(I lived by the sea then) and how

I fled and how I bent hand-over-hand
around every curve by habit.

It is in my roots to see a hole and place
mouth over space and hold until
it is filled; a starving a needing

an ancestral grieving in my heart
where if there is a falling there is a

turn: my father told me
philosophy and religion
can be the same in men

it starts in a daydream/
I know in our hearts are
our own heroes.

at night I hear the bells

The Halifax river burns sometimes, a brackish lagoon where dolphins pass through, I have thought they were angels when young. the bell

rings      to lift the bridge over
there/my grandfather bracketed by the red blinking lights and
crickets in his open palm but quieter. just a certain haunting in us in

my mother’s crossed legs and crossed arms when she does not see i watch. I feel the rope, I

feel the ropes of a hammock and will just stay there,
and they are real and hurt a little. watch grasshoppers and think of chasing them though the grass itches, think of chasing grasshoppers earlier that day through the itchy grass to feel their little feet tap on my palm like a song. to feel a happiness/

I think of geppeto, because that’s just the way of it. I think of arms and legs on strings though I am running. at night

the sound of the bell, my mother’s gray eyes as the waters still at night. the stars are all blind but shrewd as an owl who lives in the elm with his sad questions, I see

her tender heart she has delicately fed, like a rose we once knew, who a prince loved like no other who a daughter tried to make well.  and,
like a glass dome upon the thorny spine I stay even now when she has gone.

in the risk there is life

We keep our mouths
gardens under glass
like a seed without rain
or a heart smooth and white
is without any pain

in silence-

I rather
my wild edges
rather hold fire, stand
where the world ends
in a sudden fall-
so your hand is
everything, and not
more of the same

distraction/ and you
speak to me of
a temple of
a place we can pray
to each other on
knees somewhere
warm where nothing

burns but the quiet
behind your eyes when sad
with me, but truth is

loud like you and I
like love is loud and

trying to hold all
men equally-
the gravity of it
is weightless
like ice beneath

will give way
and we fall hard/
and terribly:
I leave my socked foot
under the blankets and
say, to hell with all of it
except for you.

dear wildcat

winter comes again in time and our
skin splits/ the heckling of stars:
the way implied, they could

be a sun, be the warmth
spoken of, yes I know
and we instead cracked

cups glued many times
hold fast.

how small the earthquakes warn
of a shatter and maybe
we choose to tie the rope tight
instead, tight around

our own eyes-

my dear friend, hold
the hands of your choosing
eyes shuttered and heart wild
with hollow rage like

a sun burns
from its self until done.

and what can we choose but
an anthem of joy or
despair?

dear wildcat, please free yourself
of the hunters trap and if
you must chew your own
leg to be free, be free

or if the rope is tight
and just right, I will try to
find you if you ask,

because I know your wild heart
and you know I am cracked
and full of nuance/ how you

came along and saw me going again

above the waves, breath held
to go down again but I stay
where nothing will rip
feet from sand, even
the crash all around/ but
you could see that I was tired-

it will be a choice, my dearest friend

to let an anger go that will not
destroy your enemies, at the
knowledge that nature is unjust
and will not strike down those who

would harm but give them chance
after chance… for you and I
to speak truthfully and
uncomfortably is

the only justice.

so pull the wound wide
and see like the ocean waves
there is no choice

but to return to the shore pounding,
flailing as a storm brews or in a sleepy slumber
beneath a still blue free of everything
but the pull of time, no choice

but to hold, “thought by thought.”

through the trees

I smell gardenias when I think of warmth,
feel smooth, hardwood under still new feet
how little hands can scale old

umbrella trees like that iguana
castaway one morning after a hurricane
I spotted arching up into the leaves

and little feet swinging in the air:
how I hid a small cache of treasure
perched on a branch

just like him/

shiny plastics from my costume
I wore during the warm, Miami nights
twirling and dancing in parades

flipping on the black asphalt,
sometimes landing on my knees still,
and unconcerned I’d collect the

shiny stones that fell off and
put them in the tree hole somewhere
high up- reminded of how I could shine

so bright when I moved quickly,
how people watched
entranced with my spinning.

One evening after dark
I played on the sidewalk on my own
an only child and wildly imaginative

and spotted the cactuses slowly opening their flowers

like they did every night: a night-blooming
cereus that I went over to put a tiny lizard,
a green anole, on its topmost point

of green just above the little spike

how it launched itself into the darkness
between itself and the ground way below-
my alarm and wonder at his tiny bounce

before he ran. What if, he had stayed
atop the blooms having been placed
so safely by my hand,

where the stars above were now closer
and the grass that usually towered, tiny
and inconsequential? And, I hoped

it would feel freedom like I did
up in my tree, free from all
the must-dos and perfection

the pressure to remain small
but be admirable. I found myself
closer to myself in every treetop

or perched on a floating log
in the partially frozen alpine lake
one spring or stepping further

into the warm waves of the Atlantic
where all that is heard now
is time and my own heart.